Within Earshot

"Police did not attribute any motive, but the attack raised fears that 
it might have been driven by hatred and bias against Asian-Americans, 
which has soared since the start of the pandemic last year." - 
Financial Times, 17 March 2021

My grandmother scared me 
with stories of insects crawling 
into my ear at night, taking up
residence there, hissing orders
or insults. I hear them again
tonight—spit of rifle fire saying flip 
or gook, monkey, no good, whore,
go back to where you belong. 
My grandmother gave me 
a silver spoon thin as a hairpin, 
its handle scrolled like a curling 
ribbon, the shallow bowl at its end 
smaller than the eye of a fish 
but brighter. Keep your ears 
clean, she said.  Don't muffle 
the sound so you can see 
exactly where it's coming from. 

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