She was orange and born without ears.
You’d think she’d have thought these genetic
mutations were cruelly tough but she didn’t.
Rid of one sense, supplied with another – seized
synesthetically by the emotional meanings in color
perceived in the faintest degrees from their leanings
toward, pull-backs from, brighter and duller –
of sensory data, she’d more than enough. Color, to her,
had far deeper dimensions than ever could open to us.
Some chemical agent, sources unknown, found a home
in the unwitting womb of her mother, whose germ
(or whatever the technical term) somehow fell into
melanin cells whose division re-routed conventional
pathways to hearing (mysteriously boosting vision) –
clearing the way to the brilliant display of her pigment-to-be.
Apparently skin tinted orange invariably either indicates
liver disease or a rarer inordinate hyper-proclivity to
what she’d later embrace as her name: Synesthesia.
(She otherwise liked Condoleezza.) She ‘hears’ it,
of course, by watching it leap through a strange range
of purple to yellow to blue, unimaginable to our view.
Color’s the reason she doesn’t need ears: she hears
unequivocally via her rainbow equivalents: she’s driven
to tears by her visual version of clamorous noise.
To us this is wondrous, to her it has never occasioned
a more than a very occasional lapse in her poise –
in the confident glide of her glamorous ride
through her wide and dramatic chromatic intelligence.
Blithely – oh, lesson in elegance she’ll always be! –
she takes it in stride.