Deaf

by Lindsey Webb

Twenty years ago, in a thin green evening gown,
my mother sang soft-lit before a column of judges
about silence as if she knew it well:
Memory, all alone in the moonlight—

Twenty days ago, complexion green as the celery on the table, my mother
began recalling her tomorrows in phone calls with her mother,
listening to the plock of the knife on the cutting board, trying
to commit Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” to memory—

Twenty minutes ago, in a gown green as the melting spring water beginning to sing
past our house, my mother fell asleep on a table beneath a sterile spotlight
and a scalpel, which hung ready to package all sound into her newly shaved head as mere
memory, to flood the vacuum with moonlight—

Twenty weeks ago, in a marker the tepid green of her neurologist’s wall, my mother circled April 25 on
our calendar like a cochlea, like an incision, like a family trying to learn sign language in five months, like
the beginning of her swan song—