Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "Secondhand Sight"

This poem came out of the February 8, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from aldersprig and sponsored by janetmiles.  Series sponsor ladymondegreen. It is a sequel to "Eviction, Noticed," "Home Shriek Home," and "Sticky Fingers."

Note: I looked up the reference for guide dogs.  Most schools set the owner's minimum age at 16 (with parental permission), although there have been a few exceptions. 


Secondhand Sight


When our daughter was born blind,
I could have cried,
but my wife needed me to be strong.
Instead I waited until I got home,
and cried in the closet
where the monster
patted me awkwardly on the shoulder
and handed me fingertip towels
to dry my face.

When the baby began to crawl,
and then to walk,
we noticed something odd.
She never bumped into anything.
At first, of course,
we attributed it all to luck
and a babyproof house
and the little old lady ghost
yanking the coffee table out of the way
just in time
every time.

When our daughter grew old enough
to scamper around the park,
we figured out that there was
something more going on.
She always kept one hand
a little to the side, a little forward
as if holding onto something.
At first, of course,
we thought she was pretending
to play with a guide dog --
we had promised to get her one
as soon as she turned sixteen
and the school would accept her.
Then we realized that
she wasn't bumping into anything
in the park either.

When we asked her about it,
she just giggled and said,
"Can't you see the gremlin?"
Well.  No.
I guess she isn't the only person
in the family who has a blind spot.

When the neighborhood bullies found out
about her little handicap and made trouble,
we stood back and practiced plausible deniability
while the gremlins dismantled their bicycles
and the bogeyman dangled the boys
by their ankles from a window.
They stopped making trouble after that.
Our daughter smiled, and said nothing,
merely gave the gremlins the rest of her cookie and
pressed a chocolatey kiss to the bogeyman's cheek.

When our daughter turned six,
she ran down the stairs at top speed.
By then we had learned just how fast
a gremlin's stubby little legs could go --
and it was not that  fast.
"All right, what are you up to this time?"
I asked.

When she smiled a secret smile,
and said nothing,
I got up and walked slowly around her.
Then I saw it, hanging from her neck:
a glass eyeball glistening with mystic power,
its purple iris reacting to the kitchen light.
"That's a lovely necklace," I said.
"Where did you get it?"
"A friend gave it to me," she said.

When I grumbled a bit,
my wife looked at me calmly and said,
"Well, dear, we knew that she would 
start to make her own 'friends' some  day."

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, horror, poem, poetry, reading, writing
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