Poetry & Prose

One Eye

What I remember with one eye: the severe pain 
already forgotten, a doctor’s creased scrubs, five tiny cracks 
on white walls, my mother holding me in her arms hastily 
on the way, the gravel small enough to slip
in between lids but large enough to corrugate 
the membrane on the surface of my retina. 
Families of cockroaches escaped everywhere once 
the lights turned on. The day sweated without air conditioning. 

Waking up with ooze pervading my bandaged eye, remembering 
how I will remember the days like they performed in my head, 
and how great it was to only have one functioning eye, since 
childhood memories are like cotton candies anyway. 
What is left there sticks to your fingertips,
and you lick it to taste its salty sweetness. Indeed, 
I had too much fun playing inside with my busy mother 
in my red-dotted dress, with only my left eye alive.
I danced like a pirate, rolling around on the ground, 
the pleasantly cold light wood floor. My childish sea roared.

Random Ajummas always said “what a cute little girl” to me 
in a language I had not yet learned to unravel, but when 
they opened their mouth, magpies lined up on the wire 
with their high pitches, especially when I masked my eye. 
Bit by bit I learned to decipher, as the grinning Ajummas always
repeated, uttering the same scripts over and over again. 
Poking my eyes in the mirror, I thought this might be why 
the right one has no folds, unlike the other, which is doubled. 
But I don’t remember how my eye looked before, 
just like how it does not recall its healing