Light Blind by Jane Burn

Twenty grandchildren,
eighteen great-grandchildren
and she has never seen any of them.
Blind for forty years,
she can give you a list of all the things
that went wrong with her eyes.
I was greedy she says.
I had to have the whole lot wrong.
Warm woollen hat cramped on
pudding bowl hair, coat zipper
pulled wrong. Her husband
is a tender gnome – handing her
about by her elbow crook. Shepherd,
shuffler, happy walnut, proud as punch
of her. Repeaters, they speak in parallel.

I’m eighty you know.…………..She’s eighty, you know.
Can’t see a thing.…………… She can’t see a thing.
I used to work in a shop, you know.
She used to work in a shop.…….Then I couldn’t
see so well, so I worked in care.……..In care.
Then, I could only see the shape
of their shoulders and face.………
She could
only see the shoulders and face.

I know all this. She tells us the same,
every time she comes in. Her eyeballs
look like pooled milk, like spilled paint.
Like she is blinking frost-flakes forever.

I’m lucky, she says.………………
She’s light-blind.
Not dark-blind.…………………It’s always the day
for me, never the night.……….
Always the day
for her, never the night.….Always the day
for me. Never the night
.

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