He wore an expensive pink hearing aid that
contrasted with his tanned and weathered face
long before they made colors
that almost matched your skin.
They told him it was one of the best.
Then they tinkered, tweaked and adjusted
it to try to meet his needs.
What he heard in crowds or at church was
“a bunch of buzzing bees.” But on the farm,
where he worked into his eighties,
he heard all he needed to hear – rain, birds, horses,
the clutch of foraging cats he “adopted,”
mewling for their meals.
In the end his family gave the
unmanly hued instrument to
an institution where they thought
it would be put to use. It was.
As just another oddball exhibit in some
otolaryngologist’s “primitive aids” collection.
Ed Wintermantel, a retired editor from The Pittsburgh Press, lives in Mount Washington (firstname.lastname@example.org). His father, the subject of this poem, died in January 1990 at age 88.