Three veils, Salome dances
In cornea, uvea, retina, the miracle
Of sight like a cherished head
On a silver platter. The short-sighted
Peer through spectacles
At a diminishing world, presbyopia
Where small print blurs
To a nest of insects, road signs
Leading to dead ends. The astigmatic
Distortions, how love so easily
Misdirects the impassioned and far-sight
Becomes useless, a wounded hawk.
Even in slumber, the eyes are unquiet
With vivid dreams forsaken by
The wakeful. How pupils constrict
With Morpheus, the sleep-giver, or
Enlarge with a lover’s touch.
Oedipus put out his eyes when he discovered
Jocasta’s identity, and stumbled blind
With guilt, blind
As Helen learning words by feeling,
A hand cupping water. The vitreous floaters
Sail their rafts across the sightlines
Of the aging who blink and blink
To restore focus. The cataracts that form
Like a stream finding its way
To a geology of falling.
Blue, brown, green, gray, the iris
Evokes lyric. The aqueous humour.
Tear ducts that release
All the grief we can’t endure.
Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, the new renaissance, Grand Street, Epoch, and Prairie Schooner.
--from the archives of The Broadkill Review
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