From across the room
Eyeballed me on the 10 inch screen,
It’s tracery of veins
A network of canals, the orange-red sphere
the red planet
With a bright yellow centre.
Now, said the ophthalmologist,
Pointing out the dark smudges across its surface
Let’s look for signs of cataracts
And macular degeneration.
She eyed my eyeball closely.
I sat forward and awaited the verdict.
* photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Tight-fisted , they are hard
as knuckles and spoiling
for a fight
as they tumble like marbles
on to the floor , little green foot-
balls begging me
to sink the boot in ;
even under the knife
they are tough
as nails covering themselves
in layers like Chinese
boxes or onions ;
they leap around
in the saucepan like
boxers’ fists ;
ten minutes later
I swallow them ; anything
Summer-times I grow feral
Shed my suit of civility
& head into the backyard
Where I pee like an animal
But that saccadic screech
From the crab apple tree
& razor-winged birds flashing by
Threatening life and limb
& certain other appendages
Send me scurrying back
Where I l lift the lid & pee inside
Like polite people do.
She crams characters
Into her novels like clowns
Jammed in jalopies
Is it any good pleading? Thompson says.
For your life? Not really.
But you can’t just toss me aside like a dog carcass, not after all I’ve done for you.
You were more than serviceable, W admits. But you’ve served your purpose. You can’t argue with me.
Will it be painless?
Well, get it over with then.
One minute, W says.
He reaches into his satchel and pulls out his laptop.
Finish your drink, W says. Out with the old and in with the new, he smiles, keyboarding fiercely.
And with that, Thompson is gone.
I am looking at the eye
At the space where the eye is meant to be.
It is blank. Dead.
Like an abandoned place.
Doesn’t blink. Doesn’t wink at me
Like it used to do.
No flashing-green come-on.
It has been swallowed by a black hole
It isn’t as though we just met.
Why doesn’t she text, or phone?
Shelby was disgusted.
She would sleep that night in the refrigerator.
She admired its stern solidity.
At least the mice couldn’t get to her.
And if she felt like a midnight snack, she wouldn’t have far to go.
She hopped in.
It wasn’t long before her teeth began chattering. That would keep her awake. Give her away if he was still in the house.
So she bit down on a leg of lamb.
That seemed to work.
She drifted off dreaming of sheep in thick woolen jumpers serially hurdling fences.
Let go, he says. Let go.
Yes, you have to let go. I give you permission.
So I do.
I let go of all the baggage I have built up over the years.
I feel so light I have to be tethered to the earth like a hot air balloon.