Falling

Standing at the top,
two sets of stairs appear,
blur, drift together, then apart.
Sway, lose my balance—
I am four, five, six, seven,
falling through my childhood.

My mother and grandmother argue in the night.
I lie in bed, hearing them tear at each other—
I am the reason they fight.
Gram’s glasses, broken in the morning.

Doctors promise to fix my eye,
the one that keeps wandering,
seeing two suns, two sets of stairs, two realities,
the one never spoken of that I feel inside
and the one everyone pretends is real.

The day of the operation
black-robed men come and stand by my hospital bed.
I am certain this means death.
The nurse puts a needle in my arm.
It hurts—then it is over.

Peek out of a patch that covers my left eye.
They tell me it won’t heal straight.
Yet I can’t help wanting to watch the sunlight
slanting through the small space above the curtains
to see the light, that transforms everything.