Who made this thing?
An eye staring
without blinking,
laid down on the dead

white of ivory by paint
and brush, pearls ringing
the pendant’s oval as if
grief could be transformed

into a cold and costly
object. How calmly the eye
contemplates the scenes
put before it: my birth,

a tear in time’s fabric
I crawled through quickly,
headfirst, quickly forgetting
the blood, the pain, the lights.

Halfway into my journey,
the cold wind of coincidence
throwing my shadow against yours
to meet and marry for life.

And the deaths in a line
on the horizon, black
silhouettes waving to us,
though we don’t wave back.

An eye that sees too much
and yet sees nothing.
Why do I hate it so,
hate the artist who

would work the body into
a relic of hair and ivory,
who, in love’s memory,
would pluck the eye

from the socket,
leaving the living
model blind in one eye?
I will turn from the art

of eyepainting, so distant
from hands, lips, heart.
Until we die, we live
in an everlasting present

of physicality that feels
things blindly, inch by inch,
by sense, by sound, by fingertips.
Let the dead learn from us.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 7 Number 1, on page 41
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