The fifth time I’ve tried to write
an ode to your blue wandering
that sends me to the ophthalmologist
once a year, that made me learn to love
glasses, shields to keep your blinking
blueness safe, for you could not see
the stick or stone aimed at your iris,
you would not know to shut.
I make allowances crossing streets,
check both ways twice, three times,
you have made me learn the art
of awareness, listening for the hum
of motors, the click of traffic lights.
You only ruined one college date,
a boy who said You didn’t tell me
you had a lazy eye, like this was cardinal sin,
and I should’ve listed every physical flaw,
birthmark, and assorted habit. I could
have replied You didn’t tell me about
the mole on your left arm, but I was silent.
We never went out again, so you saved me
from one of the world’s assholes. We take care
of each other, careful not to bump people
lost in your emptiness. Most don’t notice
you until I bring it up, your path like a child
who can’t stay put. A mind of your own, blue,
you’re a reminder of where I’ve been,
how things don’t always work as expected
but we make do, adapt, adjust, appreciate
the bud for its tight beauty.
Author Description: This poem is a response to folks who have asked me whether I would have surgery to restore the sight in my blind eye if I could. Being blind in one eye has shaped who I am and how I see the world (figuratively and literally), and that’s not something I would change.
Download a copy of Ode to My Right Eye – Teresa Milbrodt
Bio: Teresa Milbrodt is the author of three short story collections: Instances of Head-Switching, Bearded Women: Stories, and Work Opportunities. She has also published a novel, The Patron Saint of Unattractive People, and a flash fiction collection, Larissa Takes Flight: Stories. Her fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in numerous literary magazines.