Home > Imprisonment > The Organ of Corti

The Organ of Corti

June 7, 2011

by Jamie Houghton

Wanting sleep
dwarfed by this
The radio flyer man
has finished pulling his home
across the city and sleeps
an extension of his wagon shell
dreaming his wagon dreams
in newspaper and leather jackets.

Only taxis circle the city
choosy with signs
sure of all streets
nosing their way
through the fog.

The inner ear’s instrument
Cochlea, Snail
Organ of Corti
where sound sleeps
where the fronds move in fluid
where electricity paints
for the brain.

I blame the innocent bone
for capturing the hum
of the highway
for pulling sounds
accepting silence
the unsaid rendered
in white
on white.

I sleep
and dream that 7-11
is a lighthouse
more than a lighthouse
a promise
an open door all night.

I dream I am the last pedestrian.

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Jamie Houghton is a poet who lives and teaches in Bend, Oregon. She believes in using both sides of her brain, and is known for making the best key lime pie in town.

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  1. June 7, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    I love each line and how each line slides into the next one and on, how the voice crests and swells and dips into the isolation that’s so familiar among city dwellers. Thank you for a finely crafted poem!

  2. Roberta Burnett
    June 7, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Yes. This is a lovely poem, insightful and interested in its sound and shape.

  3. June 8, 2011 at 8:52 am

    Gorgeous imagery…I also like how the theme of imprisonment is played out in the inner ear capturing sound and how these sounds are then shuffled to the brain.


  4. June 9, 2011 at 7:03 am

    great poem

  5. June 9, 2011 at 9:39 am

    oh how i love this poem!!

  6. Barbara LaMorticella
    June 9, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Lovely and impeccable. Rarely do I feel the line breaks are nailed perfectly as I do in this poem. And of course the images, the use of the medical terms, which in the case of the ear are strangely poetic… just very fine.

  7. Jamie
    June 22, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    I am sure as writers you all know how much it means to occasionally feel like some one is listening! Thank you for the lovely comments.

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