When The Eyes Go Bad

I

When the eyes go bad

it’s time to see the years

through unstitched mouths

where once her miner’s cap

found walls of caves & wombs

with green ground

& darkness breathing

shadows

knowing then

raptures of dust

cast lines of doubt

& failed words

as grandmother’s script

was nothing more than

a poor demolition

of skyscrapers & sea

where once the ground

was a dimmer shadow of mother

& her mother’s mother

now grandmother’s voice

sails beneath a river

of stone

as her breath opens

& closes

When the eyes go bad

nothing waits

‘til the mouth opens

to truth

told  untold  retold

beneath

culture’s backwater

promises

mortgaged

or otherwise

disposed

of

II

when we were little girls

the niceness found its way

into the stitches of our mouths

never knowing what was

before us

we took for granted

grandmother’s shoulder pads

never seeing

before us

our rights

dismantled

& after us

the invisible growth

on her forehead—

the cancer before its time

the girl knows.

she knows everything.

the stone.

the door.

the mansion.

the prince.

the father

the father

the father

the girl knows.

she knows everything.

as high as the sky

her ceiling grows.

she knows what her grandmother knows.

she knows what her aunt & mother & sister know

wherever they are

between the living & the dying

they move across water

like light shining

in the photograph

she will share with

the shadows lurking

she knows where to find them

the taste of them

has been in her mouth

her whole life

like fog on windows

that is their breath

like fiberglass

they shred the air

of her distinction

mimic her will

postulate her authority

& transform

her majestic presence

her enshrined jewel of soul

her perfumed hollow

III

the doors of the mansion shut.

the ceiling becomes four walls

becomes the floor

becomes a replica

against the skyscraper

scraping the ceiling of the sky

in the dark of shadow

grandmother holds her hand

as the cave deepens

darkness

without fingers

& wrinkles of time

she grows

inside the grandmother

tastes her shadow

bites the darkness

like a mouthpiece eternal

& witnesses

& witnesses

& witnesses

the mystery of grandmother

astride the world

IV

When the eyes go bad

Grandmother walks

In the river

Beneath the silence

Of the rocks

& the doors creaking

Open

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