Wounded WordsYesterday, as we sipped reminiscences
in the middle of Michaels
I had to clench my fists
to keep them from wandering into the loosened past.
Radiant with my reclaimed sight, I showed you
the blue-gray skein of wool I had chosen
for a good friend back in Vermont.
“You used to fight with me about colors,” you said. ‘Green grass. Green apples. ‘Why do I need to learn that?’”
My world tilted, just a bit.
High up on a shelf, my fantasy
that there was always a sighted child living inside me
wavered and shook
but did not break.
I told you that I was no longer a psychologist
that I wanted to teach all teenagers to love poetry
and blind children to love art.
“That would be perfect,” you said.
“We oo-ed and ah-ed over everything you wrote.
We were so impressed by you.
You knew that.”
But I didn’t always know.
My world tilted again, more dangerously.
The ink of my memories smudged and ran
like old letters dampened by tears.
Your face was written in a language that I could not read.
I remembered how your praise was like a thick pink sweater that I got to wear
sometimes, and when it was taken away
I could never stop shivering.
My stubborn words just made us colder
Standing there, in the middle of Michaels
I faced a staggering temptation
to show you the places between my ribs
Where your mother-love had scraped and burned;
the places where my wounds never quite healed.
I wanted to give you all my words
to reach, back back back
so that my eight-year-old self
would finally have a chance to speak
But no matter how far I reach
or how loud I cry out
my smaller self will not hear me.
And if I smother you with my wounded words
I will only be forcing you to relive all the moments
when you felt lost and silenced and afraid.
* * *
I agreed to come into this world,
Blind this time, under the condition that I remain
as vain and flawed and selfish
As anyone with eyes.
In my last life, the cold marble pedestal
Drained the laughter from my feet
And I was terrified
of reliving such a fate.
So I have fallen in lust, Narcissus-like,
with the coiled pulse of my power, with the weight
of my words, with the resonance
of my own voice.
I am vision-beguiled
I have skimmed the pages of souls
without their consent, delighted
when boundaries shifted
Like sand, under my fingers.
And I lost my dearest friend
Because I saw her love for me
into something it was not.
* * *
What color is loneliness?
Hello out there. Does anyone know?
Incredulity asks, "What business is that of yours? You trespass on widowhood when you have never been a bride.”
Wonder asks, "If anyone could answer such a question, wouldn’t it be you? They say your heart is attuned to a spectrum beyond Light's reckoning."
Anxiety asks, "Why not choose another tenant to dwell among your thoughts? The one you lack is merely a distraction."
TO you who are incredulous, I ask because I am an artist. Isn't it the province of all artists to conceive the inconceivable? ,
To you who wonder, I ask because I, too am curious.
To you who are anxious, I ask because your fear is my fear, your darkness, my darkness.
And to all who come to me with questions, I ask only that you unblind me here,
For I wish to stand, unguarded, in your midst.