Published on Academy of American Poets (


The slow crawling light wilts
into the dark flat of asphalt.

The moon rings the dim-lit room.
The scraping. The fire.

in the deep flesh of ear.

Strike a match, watch the flame—
the scraping, the fire, ring
in unison,

                    the brain’s bent

Yoked mica, deafened glint—
scrape and fire, the moon ringing
the dim-lit room.

                               A louse in the crevice
of brain—
in knuckles flexed
                                    lashed, etched,
around the steel—
                                     the affliction
of squalor—a pummeling

and brain
smelted in a starless dark.


Copyright © 2020 by Santee Frazier. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 22, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“Hyperacusis is a sensitivity to sound. When inventing the poem, I was interested in how sounds in urban environments—machinery, street light, and noise pollution in general—influence my understanding of sonics. This poem is merely an interpretation of that particular meditation.”
Santee Frazier


Santee Frazier

Santee Frazier is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. He is the author of Dark Thirty (University of Arizona Press, 2009). 

Date Published: 2020-04-22

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