The internal ear is the essential part of the organ of hearing, receiving the ultimate distribution of the auditory nerve. It is called the labyrinth, from the complexity of its shape… — Gray’s Anatomy In a glass box, hearing’s pivot and swivel, a case of labyrinths. Row upon row of slight, white depths throb and hum. In the first row : a silver spoon stirring sugar into the ear’s cup, spoon of conduction, coiled and eager, prenatal divining rod quivering with dark, underwater bloodbeats, muffled uterine voice start of loud out to fluorescent thrum, the warming table, carol over an aching fontanel. Second row the labyrinths grow and recede : orangutan, flying dog from Madagascar, pale implements, still holding in their hoop the rustle of rain in grass, the sand along the plummeting third : spanned gymnura, trichechus, the chiming sea, its peal, bell of itself and deeper to the prehistoric bear, hyena, echo into the cave. Fifth and sixth row : rodents, curled like hibernation itself, tail spiral, scratch, skitter, trill, and coil, writhe of a pink fingerling pianissimo against the large pachydermal sweep, ivorial and tusking, seventh row, the hoof of the eighth. The last labyrinths : shift to bird, light, light, the case can’t hold them. They hover on the tips of the velvet lining, a golden string, the very origin of inquiry.