What It Is You Don’t Want to See / Stephen Massimilla

An aneurism, say, a blood vessel ballooning
behind the optic nerve; if not
for prompt surgery,

I wouldn’t be writing this
today. A coating of glue
on the eye had flaked off

like dirt. A vodka bullseye, wine
and pliers stretched out
the eye. The front sack

of the organ drained
of fluid, I fixed the car brakes
instead of going to see

a doctor. My instinct was
to try to push my eye up,
back into the

skull, remove the
worm, leaving just the hook
of hurt in the iris: flushed, pretty

—any denial of a state
is an implicit admission—
vitreous stalactite,

imagined. Later, I waited hours
to hear: You saved
your own eye but

didn’t hear. Looked into the stare
of one set of spectacles,
unable to escape

 the dissolving face,
pupils black
as night sky behind

an occipital plate. Just
a case of backlighting, just as
reading about suicide

makes print on
the paper break down
like cracked poetry, out of focus,

the double ii in the page-
corner just two snaked incisions,
reptile eye-slits

hooking into
retracted underlids…
leading me away:

You’ll see your sight
later, prognosticated Doctor
Seymour, his pen-

knife held pointing right
at the bull’s-eye, bringing
an authorial

instrument to bear
on being unable to re-
write the retina.