Joshua Mensch at Body Literature reviews FRANCESCA BELL’S WHAT SMALL SOUND

The book’s title, What Small Sound, refers to the sounds her ears can no longer hear. The title poem takes place in an audiologist’s booth, where clutching for sounds, she thinks about the distant moons of Jupiter, which she is “afraid to look at through the telescope, the stillness out there strong / enough to suck me in.” Between those distant moons and her body lies the rest of the world, the shared universe of humanity clinging together in the vastness of space. What makes it difficult to see such sharedness is the fact that we each inhabit our own version of the world. As one celebrates, another suffers, each blind to the reality inhabited by the other.