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That was the year the cicadas started

in my skull. Their buzz-saw droning; the fraught

song of dust and summer, I’m told. Bleated

noise. It came with the pneumonia. I thought

it was part of the fever. If my ghost

shark can haunt me during delirium

why not raucous bugs in the innermost

depths of my ear? Soon my fever’s bedlam

faded but the sing-song did not. Even

now, love, as I write this, the din’s low groan

keeps me distraught. I wake with radio

static, thinking the dark bellowed. Listen.

Only I can hear it, that deep bass drone;

what hell’s divas call, “Basso profundo.”



In opera the lowest vocal range that a tenor can go is called basso profundo. Starting around a year ago I began developing tinnitus, a ringing in the ears like radio static that is often accompanied by hearing loss. In the last two months or so it has gone from a dull buzz that I could ignore to a much louder droning which wakes me up at night. I find the sort of disconnected musing I need, such as when I’m writing, harder now.