In the corridors of Mercy General a woman goes her rounds in heavy black shoes. She is one of the intercessors, the listeners. When a frog chirrups in the old wood, and the morning branches crowd with diminutive Pavarattis, who keeps their symphony? Who hears the mosquito’s thin singing above an unvisited mud puddle? Our civilization is all in our ears, in listening and sitting back and doing nothing. Hunger sharpens the ears of the woodland; the wolves whose ears stand up like scissors, or the frog’s black circles to the rear of his black eyes, alerting him when to snap or leap. Hunger whets the chipmunk’s nose in the wild dark under the rhododendrons. But here in the hospital corridors a small woman walks quietly, plain-nosed, a little itchy in her starched uniform, her blond hair efficiently bunned that had fallen free as sunshine over the Bhagavagita at the beach last weekend. And curled tightly, simply, under the wire curves of her eyeglasses, are her ears as strong as conch shells–cupping within them, as a cupped tongue laps water, the delicate mechanisms of the conch.