The 46-year-old blind woman knows very well
that she can see, thank you very much.
She correctly identifies the colour
of her husband’s red sweater as blue
and would prefer not to walk around
the hospital room unless they
open the blinds. The doctors say
her pupils respond to light,
so there’s that. She’s here, by the way
because she panicked a little
and hurt her ankle and wrist
and tailbone and what does this
have to do with her sight,
for Christ’s sake. She reaches for
The Times, pretends to read, defiantly sensible
in her dubious “present”. The whistle
in her husband’s nose,
the cold hand on her wrist,
the bitter rasp of apple juice
through the bendable straw. She can see.
She remembers an uncle or cousin saying,
“when you look up, you look back, hon.”
Her pupils, she imagines, are hungry little goldfish
eating up time. The hemispheres
of her brain are bright; stars are everywhere.
She’ll rise, deliberately stumble along a white thread.
The chair by the window is yesterday. The cafe
in the lobby, a month ago. She was eight
she thinks, when she last picked ripe tomatoes
in grandma’s balcony garden. All are equally
here now. Beneath everything is the scent
of ammonia and the feeling she gets
of not being able to put the yoke back in the egg
before mother sees what she’s done. But come off it:
Who cares, by this point? Why was there an unbroken egg
to begin with? Her eyes work perfectly well.
Melanocyte is Not a Mineral
It is a highly differentiated cell
that produces colour in human skin.
The cell is dark and petroglyphic
in shape, as if tattooed into a rock face
when the glaciers withdrew. Melanocytes
are evenly spaced throughout the skin, but will,
on occasion, succumb to the pull of genetics
and cluster into a mole. Humans glamourize the moles
around their mouths, but worry about the others.
Physicians tell them “to keep an eye”
on the strange ones, so people
become bathroom astronomers, going so far
as to divide their bodies into quadrants
and map the orbits of their nevi
with their iPhone cameras. A human has between
ten to fifty nevoid satellites. Saturn has more than eighty;
its axis succumbing to their pull, especially
to that of Titan, a moon larger
than the planet Mercury, large enough
to have its own weather systems. At night,
when things are clearest, people teeter
on the edges of their bathtubs, the grim work
of locating rogue bodies. They will
get the naming rights, of course, but
dermatologists lay claim to the minerals.
After their appointments, humans return home,
holes dug from their skin, red craters
where the melanocyte was.
Rocco de Giacomo is a widely published poet whose work has appeared in literary journals in Canada, Australia, England, Hong Kong and the US. The author of numerous poetry chapbooks and full-length collections, his latest, Brace Yourselves — on the representation of the individual as it relates to the Zeitgeist — was published in January, 2018, through Quattro Books. His next collection, Casting Out, will be published in 2023 via Guernica Editions. Books can be ordered via his website: roccodg.com