LEIGH ANNE COUCH
Learning to Use the Stick
Let's say you're a blind boy in the street
jabbering nervously at the teacher
walking backwards in front of you.
He moves, and you toward him,
the traffic against you both. Not knowing
what's to come and when you'll fall
makes you fall to the curb and refuse to move.
It doesn't matter. You'll have to get up
and learn again the town isn't empty
just crossing to the other side
to make room in your stretch of nothingness.
Blindness is anything but that
it's not black velvet or a locked closet either,
but a place you imagine is time itself
where ideas are as real as the lamp you knock over
again. You'll have to get up
and start learning to keep your eyes closed
for the seeing who can't bear to see them.
The hardest is learning you're not alone,
the nothing you maneuver through
is the something we're all born into
Now, let's say I take you up
on your offer of coffee sometime.
I walk blindly into your story. I'm a character
there. I walk blindly into your body.
I'm a character there, and language is
the stick, or faith, or violence, or love is.
Learning to use the stick, tapping the walk,
gently stirring and parting the air, making
doorways to push yourself through,
learning there's no use looking down.
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