Bradley Buchanan


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a blind man knows what his pockets hold
like the backs of his hands,
which he scratches against
denim, reaching in for Kleenex
(right front), wallet (left front)
physicians' folded up instructions
(left rear), receipts (right rear)
no fresh eyes stuck inside my head
could acquaint me more intimately
with the contents of my cargo pants
I recognize each texture at once
like anyone seeking such reassurance

* * *


Listen to the audio version.

For their own protection
your eyes must be
sewn shut.
Please don't look so worried.
The caution
with which the needle will work
will be extreme.
The thinnest thread
imaginable will be woven into
your eyelids.
There will be anesthetic
of course, but yes
there may be discomfort too
both during and following
the procedure.
They will be installing
an ingenious system of loops
on both sides, held in tension
with medical tape.
Your nurses will learn
how to undo the fastening strands
for the administration of eye medication
four times a day.
Some clumsy fingers
may be unable to perform
this task efficiently, but another willing
assistant can be found, I have no doubt.
Tears may compromise the tape,
but not the tarsorrhaphy itself
which should last between two and four months.
By then, it is hoped
that your corneas will have started
healing at least, at last.
You may grope and stumble
In the meantime, but it should be worth it.
If you care at all about your eyes
you can do without them.
Now, relax, please.


Brad Buchanan is Professor Emeritus of English at Sacramento State University. His poetry, fiction, and scholarly articles have appeared in nearly 200 journals, and he has also published two book-length collections of poetry: The Miracle Shirker (2005) and Swimming the Mirror: Poems for My Daughter (2008). His third book of poetry, The Scars, Aligned (A Cancer Narrative), is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. He is currently in remission from both T-cell lymphoma and a second type of blood cancer, B-cell lymphoma, but still experiences daily challenges due to chronic Graft Vs Host disease.