when you’re seven.
A scratched illumination
of the universe of us.
Line us up and when the cue ball strikes
to the edges of stress,
careen, and reel ourselves back in
of the four of us:
Orlando whimpering and seeking a safe, quiet place
amid Mica’s yelps of pain. Mica feels
it all fully, in wide, loud arcs.
a soft chair, an open vessel,
humming with space to absorb it all—
and then a board, stiff
with wanting everything to be flat,
and still, and straight. To stop.
Rom puts his head down and
stays the course.
Mostly it was hours, off and on, of
two hours of which were in urgent care,
where we all took a long exhale
putting ourselves in the hands of
knowing some end was in sight
even though it came in several-minute bursts amid hours of waiting
we made the room our own,
doing math and art on the white-board
and wandering the halls
until it was all as I had thought:
Mica had an abrasion on his eyeball,
and while it seemed impossible to understand how it had happened
as he sat quietly next to his brother on the couch looking at books
(and all the times they wrestle and throw things, including each other,
around?), it was so.
We waited for the prescription
and I felt like super mom
because I had almonds and raisins
and bananas and water in my backpack.
Rom and the boys played rock-paper-scissors.
We were on our way home when
Mica proclaimed the medicine not medicine at all
because it stung his eye – like hell!
The dam was let loose:
“And those doctors are mean, and Mama and Papa, you are mean!
And I give this hospital NO stars!!”
We were all tired, and Rom almost drove into the pole
in the middle of the parking lot,
and it was my turn to yelp.
At home, I told Mica:
“I know you are not happy and your eye hurts a lot
but, please, let’s take a break from the complaining
until after we eat dinner, and then you can see if there is more
complaining after that.”
It sort of worked.
I was desperate for quiet, the cooking was slow.
We ate quickly and then we went to bed,
where Mica couldn’t sleep.
It hurt more when he closed his eye.
He tossed and turned and we cold-compressed
and pain-reliefed. I noticed
the shallowness of my breath, and took it easy
on myself. And after an hour and a half,
he was asleep with his feet in my face,
and at some point, too, I slept.
I told Mica that
when I had a cut on my eye,
I woke up the next morning
and it felt so, so, so much better.
It had healed in the night.
The doctor told him, too, that cuts on eyes heal
more quickly than cuts on skin.
He added, “And they hurt more, too.”
In the morning he woke up, and while his eye was puffy and damp,
his spirit was bright and light,
and he said, “That’s what cuts do! They get better!”
And later, after breakfast, he said quietly and plainly,
“I wish there was no hurting in the world.”
~ * ~
We have a history with eyes around here: