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Luci Shaw


Cataract

I love investigating fixes,
pre- and suf- and how they
infect meaning. For instance,
cataract (the Greek prefix kata-,
signifying down, and -ract, crash)
speaks of a clear river interrupted,
mingling with rough air, turning milky,
then breaking with Olympian force
over a rock edge.
My right eye—its lens opaque
enough to make the view uncertain.
As if a pale cloud of cottonseed
had floated down and obscured
the truth of books and landscape.
All it had left were speculations.
I know. Things break down. Leaves
turn mushy. Teeth decay. Icebergs melt.
Yesterday my old occluded lens was
plucked out. Though he told me it wouldn't
hurt, and I wouldn't remember, thanks to
the sedatives, I tried my best to be aware,
to understand how clarity was being re-engineered
as the surgeon slipped a new one in.
I don't remember. And it was painless,
and now I hope for vision clear as
the pool where water rests after falling.

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