blackbird online journal Spring 2008  Vol. 7  No. 1



     for Dave Smith

It’s not the eye I took the grounder in,
that roller that hopped just once, exploded
inside my skull, spinning me into left
where I clawed the grass and everybody
came running and none of them laughing.
You never saw a worse shiner. By Sunday
something made of calf’s liver had eaten
the eye and festered into a naked,
fist-sized gastropod that wanted the rest
of my face. It happened at third, which I played

damned well, if I do say so myself. The killer
streaked just inside the line, dirt-hugging laser
I’d begged for from the fungoed high school star
who gave me what I said I wanted—then
a visionary blink of supernova.
I really thought the eye had burst inside
the socket. What else could make such a flash?
But these flashes—that’s what the doc calls them—
they’re in the left eye. Offstage lightning by
candlelight. And, man, do they make floaters.
I’m half blind with dustballs, dark matter.

If they’re still there in two weeks, come back,
he says. Or if they get worsethe flashes
phone us right away. Nothing detached. No
tears or wrinkles on the retina yet, but
this is easy stuff. We do it all the time.
He breathes snuff or foot powder down
at my immobile head. We do it with
a tiny beam of light. No shit, I think
but don’t quite say. So, today, I move
mysterious in dark glasses through a

daylight world frozen in a flash of too much
revelation, thinking of you, my friend,
whose eyes have held up well since we stood at
the door of your room crammed with books,
deploring clichés and, I remember—don’t I?—
one of us quoting Emerson and speculating
on blindness, standing easy in those bodies
we both seemed to think were already old,
not having a clue about this future
we’ve kept somehow scooping up, getting out,
and jogging away from—you guessed it—past home.  

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