by John Muellner
Then, as the light skimmed his face
just right, I saw his eyes were a green
sea glass, and I wondered who
would ever put glass in an eye.
Who would set an urchin in a lap,
pour acid in a chalice? Was no one afraid
the two would kiss? He claims he doesn’t
feel pain, but flinches from mirrors.
Some call it drift glass, not that his eyes
wander where they shouldn’t, but that they’re
not snagged in the same pain day after day.
Though burdensome, the sea shards
wrenched in his sockets, he still finds play
in the warm sand. He won’t look at me,
but my own eyes, bluer, are a couple of lakes
thick with anchors. I feel the rust eat
the chains, the heft of each wave and shift.
Though I’ve spotted his translucent aching,
I am brought no peace. I expected my weights
to rise to the sequined surface in knowing
he’s a human cut in ways I am familiar,
but the aquatic pillars only congest me. I heard
it takes decades for the sea glass to furbish
among other debris, but he flounces
the polished pain as if anyone can
achieve false amity, an illusion that causes
him to bump into more rubble and pull
his hat down quiet, while I devour the origin story
of my anchors, calculate their circumference
and trace the manufacturer. He must see
his corneal misery as contract, some private
gag order he may never extract. Here I have
boasted my ability to gather the facts and stare
my pain in the eye. Why am I still under water?
John Muellner is a gay poet living in suburban Minnesota, currently in the thick of attaining his MA from the University of St. Thomas. His work can also be read online in Indicia, Gertrude Press, and Sand Hills Literary Magazine.