ONE POEM — Judith Amanthis

Eye with dislocation of the lens due to a melanotic sarcoma. St Bartholomew’s Hospital Archives & Museum.
 Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) 

Maybe I should pluck it out after all 

You climbed into my eye when I was five.
School mirrors and shiny floors
all clapped. There wasn’t a dry eye
and I became adept
at plunging my eye into the sink
but you didn’t leave my sight
to our blurred mother’s relief.

From the yew-dark wool you pulled
over my eyeball, 
knit one, maul one, 
you made a beam. It was yew bark
your source of dark, and still
I didn’t pluck out my eye
where, my horizon excised, you grew.

Then the time I know 
night white on black roofs
is both moonlight and snow
begins to unstick you 

till I learn to blink and blink and blink
extract my eyelid, peer under it 
thrust a glass ball in
so that, horrified, I see global angles bent,
blood rivers. I slice up my optics:
I have both jewels and lasers for eyes
to cut you down to size, demote you all to bones.

Judith Amanthis’ short fiction and journalism have been published in Ghana, South Africa and the UK. Her novel Dirt Clean was shortlisted for the Society of Authors’ Paul Torday Memorial Prize 2021. Her poetry has been in Black Lives Matter: Poems for a New World 2020, Untitled Writing 2021, Write Across London 2021 and is forthcoming in Sarasvati magazine. Her poem Giant was longlisted for the Bridport Prize 2021. She’s a Londoner and has been writing poetry since October 2020.

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