ODE TO EAR WAX

Imagined always as a golden current
incompletely smeared round the rim of the external
auditory canal, a rich brown paste impeding
entrance of foreign objects—but as with human blood
which I was surprised long ago to learn may be of many different hues
until it hits the air, it is impossible to say with 
any confidence what happens in that dark place
where we can’t see inside. When I was in high school 
my brother and my father had theirs candled—someone lit a wick
and in time the wax ran hot and wet, puddling out. 
Saw this wick always as a generous cone, running evenly down
to their patient match heads, wedged in the ear’s entrance, though I never 
looked it up. I know of course that there are cameras
and instruments, external bodies that might be introduced
to chart the course of the canal up close, view
the golden river’s progress. But I don’t count any of that—
how do we not know that when something is inserted it is not changed? 
The body and its hidden circuitry is ever
more mystical than we can ever see. When the results of the ear candling
were poured out in front of them, both my father and brother
reported finding one long-dead insect drowned in the ear’s sticky honey,
a lady bug in one and in the other something
I now forget—perhaps another lady bug, as one year
they flooded us, animated an entire exterior wall, indoors buzzed from 
lamp to lamp as we watched TV—or maybe 
nothing, just more wax, enough of it poured out 
to be its own insect, its own impediment, a foreign object
the body made for itself and no one else

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