The intern was confident. Corneal abrasions, he diagnosed,
it happens with contact lenses worn too long. At last I had a name
for the miniature daggers piercing the surface of my eyes,
the roaring in my ears like a freight train every time I blinked.
The on-call resident pushed me into a chair, dripped thick
blue dye under my spasming lids. Held me still. Behind each iris
a faraway seam tightened, an invisible ocean evaporated,
an overhead machine swung down and a maniacal white light
aimed, scanning left, then right, then left again. I didn’t cry.
Not at the nurses gripping my wrists, or the bulb’s blinding fury,
or the gruff ophthalmologist the next morning who tossed me
a bottle of antibiotic drops and said the hospital was wrong:
This will not heal on its own. In future, you must be more careful.
I went home. Followed instructions. Picked out a new pair
of glasses, since the damage changed my prescription.
Stayed dry until you called, days later, knowing nothing of it,
purring low like I loved. I got the hotel blood tonight, baby come
meet me. I miss you. As if the second separation never happened,
as if we hadn’t agreed to wrench our breakable bodies free
of our year-long wreck. Leaving the better judgment to me.
My busted sight blurred. I could not open my mouth for fear
of saying either yes or no, so I put the phone on the floor
and curled up next to it, pressed my blazing face to the cool
kitchen tile and wished for the emergency room.