No Eyedrops Needed

I didn’t blink for an entire year.

I taped my eyelids to my brows and suffered so that

My sixteenth year wouldn’t be in vain.

I mean, a person blinks seven million eight hundred sixty two thousand and four hundred times a year,

That’s two hours spent

Staring at the backs of your eyelids,

Which feels to me like an enormous and crippling

Waste of time.

 

So I didn’t blink until I

Forgot the color of the backs of my eyelids and

Even then, I refused to let my lashes meet.

I stared straight into searingly bright fluorescent bulbs

(The kind you only find in public high schools or prisons)

And I watched the sun rise and set and rise again and

I found my eyes welling up with the sheer effort.

Winds blew across my corneas, I felt their sharp sting as my eyes dried

So that they rivaled the most arid of deserts and I mean

Fissures, enormous chasms, appeared across my pupils,

Great gullies in my deep brown irises,

Mass desertification on a scale that hasn’t been seen since the Aral Sea--

But still I did not blink.

 

Somewhere around June,

I found myself staring into the eyes of two children who live in a small, third-world country--

The kind of kids white women with soothing eyes talk about in infomercials and ask

For a donation of nineteen ninety five, please, to save them--

And I found their eyes looking back into mine through the tinted panes of my air conditioned coach bus

As I rolled over their cobbled streets on wheels pumped high with an air of

Privilege.

No, I didn’t blink,

But my eyes skirted away of their own volition,

Like an obedient dog breaks its gaze with humans because

It knows they are its master.

 

When it got quiet, at night,

I laid on my back and fixed my eyes on my chest

Until I learned to see right through myself.

Two pink lungs and a beating red heart,

Nestled between them was my compassion, my ease,

My pushover tendencies, my forgetfulness.

In vain, I looked for a way to separate them,

(take the good and only the good)

But it appeared there was a vast network of tissues that I couldn’t quite untangle.

I have eyes, not medical degrees,

So I left them.

 

Fall came.

There was so much to see that I think I had to sever the cord between my eyes and my brain

My eyes rolled untethered in their sockets,

Glazed and unfeeling, they witnessed leaves fall over a world I didn’t recognize.

My brain reveled in the white noise, blind to everything,

Which is why, when I met that boy,

All I noticed was his easy smile and his curly hair

And his butt in those navy blue pants that cuffed above his ankle, not how

He spent more time watching the backs of his eyelids than he did watching me.

One day, when we were on a walk, he blinked

And I ran as fast as I could to see how far I could get before he opened his eyes.

Turns out I got to New Years’ Eve.

I found myself at a party,

Surrounded by people dancing

With their lids hanging low over their pupils,

So low that their lashes brushed against each other.

I excused myself as the hands of the clock tickled the eleven and the six

And I drove home blearily,

Headlights blurring in my rearview mirror,

And somehow I ended up in my bed

Where I laid as the green lights from my digital clock burned themselves into my eyes

So that even as everything started to narrow,

I could still see the eleven and the colon and the four and the three

On the backs of my surprisingly dark eyelids.

 

 

This poem is about: 
Me

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