Mica Poked Himself in the Eye

An eyeball
by oneself,
when you’re seven.
A scratched illumination
of the universe of us.
Line us up and when the cue ball strikes
we scatter
to the edges of stress,
careen, and reel ourselves back in
to center.
An undulation
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.
I alternate:
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
something larger,
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.”

there is.
And, still,
we heal.


~ * ~

We have a history with eyes around here:

Mica Poked Me in the Eye (2010)
Orlando Squirted Soap in His Eye (2007)
Rom, you’re next…


Each time, I doubt the profundity of the experience. After all, I am walking on top of canvas, with a lot of other people, and know where it is all leading… But somehow, the length of the walking, the process of twisting and turning, folding and unfurling, leads me to some inner place, where tears reside, where words weighing a lifetime flash through me, and I am softened and opened and changed.

The labyrinth walk — our annual tradition on New Year’s Eve. Orlando and I enter, and walk together. I always forget about walking with a question until I am in the labyrinth, and soon after stepping in, the question comes to me: Will I put down arms?

Or more a prayer: May I put down arms… May I let feelings come, may I care for them, may I not react from them…

Mica joins me and Orlando as we head toward the center, and then we are all three in the center, and I kneel on the floor with Mica in my lap, and I feel the word melt course through me. My body relaxes, and Mica’s body relaxes, and Orlando stays in his little segment of the center, and says, “Can we go back now?”

I want to stay a moment, and rest. We are whispering and being with ourselves and each other (and all these other people) and I decide to go out now. I am with myself, walking back, noticing the force of questioning within me: Why isn’t Orlando happy? Knowing the question is more mine than his; that it is not a question at all, but a cloaked coercion: Be more happy. Be different than you are.

Will I put down arms?

All this is moving through my body as my body moves through space. Walking, step by step, things settle. The cathedral is cavernous, and gorgeous, and there is medieval music with a woman plaintively singing, and candlelight, and people I don’t know, and among them, familiar faces (friends and neighbors), and my family. A container.

At some point, Mica peels off and joins Rom on one of the pews… Orlando and I lose each other. I search for him and see him, as he moves toward and away, and is finally swallowed up in a group of people. I realize that we are on different paths and that they aren’t going to cross. I stand still, and wait for him to reappear. He sees me, and comes over, “I think I got turned around.”

Me too.

We start walking again, together, with me stepping confidently back onto the path. Orlando is looking ahead, and soon tells me, urgently and with panic in his voice, “We’re going the wrong way!” I can feel in my body that I am not worried. Truly. The energy that gathers within me—trying to ensure that I am doing it “right,” fretting that already I am doing it wrong—isn’t coming forward. It is so quiet.

I tell Orlando, “At some point it will become clear. It’s okay.” I’m surprised to find I believe it.

Indeed, we discover we are going the “wrong” way—back to the center, where we stop, for only a moment. I still want to connect to Orlando, but he is impatient (still), and we walk back out.

I notice a mild wave of subterranean worry (yes, my old friend, worry), Why won’t Orlando connect? But also, I know that I asked him to connect with me in one specific way, and there are a million ways, but—restless feelings push into my feet, wanting them to move more quickly, and into my shoulders, where they find form as the idea that Orlando is walking too slowly.

Aware of it all, holding it gently, and still I ask Orlando quietly if he would mind if I walk in front of him. He agrees and promptly begins walking so closely to me that he bumps my legs. I am not irritated (another surprise), and am managing to hold space for this weird tension between us. I feel curious. Then Orlando politely asks, “Mama, is it okay if I go in front of you now?”

Yes, it is.

And finally, it seems, we come to the entrance, where I make a little bow and step onto concrete.

Orlando is running off, on to the next thing, eager to find Rom and Mica, and soon I am at the Burning Bowl.

I kneel at the table, scribbling notes in the half-dark, and fill out sheet after sheet. I wait my turn in line, and this is what I burn:

May I lay down arms. May I know what it feels
like in my body, in each moment, to lay down arms.

May I be in my body, moment to moment.

May I serve my body, and my body serve me.

May warmth and temperance grow in
my every interaction.

May all beings live their lives, and flourish.

Mica comes to me and wants to know what I am doing. I pick him up as I stand in front of the bowl. I whisper to him about letting go and setting intentions and trusting something bigger than ourselves. He nods and the paper glows and blackens into ash.

We come all this way to live our lives, right out loud on this canvas. We come all this way to touch our own hearts and see how they feel up against another’s. We come all this way to stand still (or not) in the center. We come all this way to be imperfectly together. To see ourselves, to feel the limits, to let go, and to glimpse the possibilities.

And then we come home to the common house, where we dance and dance and dance, and dance some more. Pump Up the Jam. Can’t Hold Us. Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’. What’s Going On? Stop! In the Name of Love. Love Shack. Get into the Groove. Music without words. And on into eternity.


Mica says, “I flow with the music. I go with the music.”

~ * ~

Our other labyrinth walks:

2013, (we were in Hawaii, on the beach, watching fireworks!)
2012, Nest
2011, I Want a Whole Mama
2010, Walking the Labyrinth

labyrinth photo by theheartindifferentkeys

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