Blindness/Your Brother by Mary di Lucia

He will go blind.

He will go blind, you think, as they have all done, and it is you who will have let it happen. You have let it happen; it is too late. You could have told him: it is not the eye. It is the hands which reshape the universe. They are the remakers. All is seen through a glass, whether or not the glass is waiting to be filled on a table or held up to the light, a magnificator.

You yourself will go blind with what you have not allowed yourself to see.

He will go blind.

You hope that this is the highest price he will have to pay. This is the cost.
You will accept, for him, blindness. There are worse things.

You are a small boy and you have eluded her arms.

He is a small boy and he has eluded them. You have encountered these arms, and there learned that nothing is there. In his resistance, he, the small boy, keeps alive the belief that he has eluded what is there, in the arms, and in that, the “what is there,” is there. He has caused it to be there, (although nothing is there), in his desire for something to be there. In his strength in denying himself what he desires, he never learns that what he desires and what he has denied himself because he desires it so strongly does not exist, in those arms.

The espresso is very strong, though it is not clear where or why or when these new habits were learned: stretto, corretto, calvados, grappa, marc, cognac. Beneath them are the old words for things; both the old worlds and the new are vocalized, guttural; catching in the throat: klyeb, farro, krupa, vodka, bread, grain. Corretto, as of cognac, the last in the desired sequence: the word where the rough and the refined merge in a wisp of a consonant—


He always buys you an espresso. He pours in one portion of sugar, and stirs it; you pour in one portion and do not stir it, all these years, because you thought that this was his way, not to stir, with the grains of sugar almost accumulated at the bottom, but his way is to stir it so that they dissolve all the way through, which you now do, though it is not bitter enough for you.

What will the cost be—for the flowers, for the bread, for the coffee you buy for her just as you are leaving without even looking at her, at her ruined face and the child within that face, her last beauty, whom you have taken from her—for the drink?

The cost will be that he will go blind. Youth is blurry in a way that allows us to see in a way we cannot when there is age and clarity. Youth does not know it is blind. You read this in a child’s book you find in the trash on the curb. A collision of the light, it reads.

The small boy stands at the window.

The view from the window places the horizon at the wire of trees. Seen from even farther away, the trees are oil tankers against the telephone poles which are trees which are telephone poles strung with wires which are trees.

It is a collision.
Not an accident,
a crash
between yourself
and the light
and what stands
in between
the two of you
in a moment
you did not remember

You were arrested for entering without a permit into that zone, and warned not to return, but that was the third try. You had already entered twice, unknown.

He says meet me on the bridge. You go to the bridge. You wait on the bridge.

He had his glasses on.
He had his glasses on, you repeat, when he was found.

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