This one was published in Alaska Women Speak.
In my cave,
in the emergency room,
the doctor left the room dark,
with just a crack of light,
that bled in from the hall outside.
In just eight hours, my right eye had gone
from noticing the blurred hands
of the clock on the wall,
hands that smeared like ink on wet paper,
to the hot lightning bolt
of photophobia, pain that had me
holding my head in the dark,
and praying for no light.
For an hour, my fiancé and I
were left alone in the cave,
to watch shadows move underneath
the closed door frame,
as the eye specialist saw
a man who lost control of a chain saw
and injured his eye.
You’re lucky. He can see you too,
the doctor said,
as I imagined a slipped hand,
fragments of wood splintered in an iris,
a severed optic nerve,
and the blood that brought him to the hospital.
Later, the specialist caressed my hands,
as he scooped them away from my right eye.
I smelled the Dial soap
and wanted to believe him:
I understand this hurts.
I’m fairly sure of what you have,
but I have to be sure.
Then, like a piercing light saber,
the scope swept across my eye.
Before the pain could cut
through my brain, he stopped
iritis, at a minimum.
The specialist dimmed the lights
and my right eye went closed again.
My left eye, the one that could still see,
saw the first doctor
who shadowed the specialist.
I knew it! His fist balled
in triumphant victory,
of a correct diagnosis,
of what I had lost.