Lisa Kelly is a poet and editor. She is half Danish and has single-sided deafness from childhood mumps. Lisa is a regular host of poetry evenings at the Torriano Meeting House in London and is Chair of Magma Poetry magazine. Her pamphlet Bloodhound was published by Hearing Eye in 2012. Poems have appeared in magazines and anthologies including Carcanet’s New Poetries VII. Her debut collection A Map Towards Fluency is forthcoming from Carcanet in 2019.


Ghost Heritage

Bisect me: discover my left eardrum lined with rockwool.
In my home town there are whispers picked up by my right ear:
fears about school places, pressure on housing;
it hears every nuance of Englishness, the right
to speak in red and white of discomfort and disjointedness.

The whisperers don’t know my left ear’s deaf; insulated
against whitevan noise and exhaust; insulated against
my mother tongue. Don’t know my mother was an immigrant;
that when they whisper I feel discomfort and disjointedness.
They don’t know I’m half Danish, half deaf. Why would they?

From Philip Levine’s Good Ear

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