“Drape this cloth over your eyes,” he says.
Always afraid, he cowers at my beauty,
like coming upon a creature, so rare
that it is thought to be extinct,
and shooting it dead.
Without my vision, we are perfect:
I can’t see him load the barrel;
I don’t hear him cock the gun.
You can imagine my surprise
when feeling the cold metal
against my temple, and hearing his words
heavy in my ear whispering,
“Drape this cloth over your eyes.”
I don’t know how far he drove —
four, maybe five hundred miles —
until the sun is creeping through the cloth
and everything looks red behind the veil.
I had been trying to run away: he had the car,
he had the gas, he had the blindfold.
When we stop, I open the passenger door
and find my feet upon wet sand
with water rushing over and away from them.
I can smell the salt in the air;
I can smell his cologne as he wanders up to me.
We drove much further than I thought:
it was at least two days from where we were
to the ocean. “Are you happier now?”
he asks of me, “are you better than before?”
He wants to give me everything;
I want to find it for myself.
I took the pills perscribed to calm his heart;
I swallowed them whole so he would not fear.
I draped the cloth over my eyes
and shut them tight; I held my breath
to stop the hemorrhaging in my mind.
But it was too late and I was empty —
I reply, “I feel nothing, nothing,
He takes my hand
and walks me into the water.
It stings my exposed skin,
cleaning wounds I thought were scabbed.
“And if a wave comes?” he asks,
“Would it wake you up? Would
it bring you back?” He is trying;
he is trying too hard.
I feel his pulse beneath my fingers
wrapped around his wrist;
mine has grown too weak
to be felt through the skin.
I miss its consistent rhythm
of I am, I am, I am.
“Where will we go?” I ask.
“Wherever you want.”
“Into the water?”
“Anywhere but that.”
His pulse beats live, live,
live for me.
I trace my hands up my face and behind my head
to the knot where the cloth is held.
Facing the wind, I untie the blindfold
and let the breeze push it against my eyes,
“What are you doing?” He grabs my hands;
he is too late. I load the barrel;
I cock the gun. I wiggle my feet into the sand
and take off running. The cloth
draped over my eyes catches in the breeze,
flies off and behind me,
into the water, into the ocean.
The waves catch it between the shifting tides
and carry it towards the horizon.
I turn around to see him standing still;
the distance feels like its own ocean between us.
He is paralyzed; I am free.
The water rises around us.
I walk up the beach and out of his arms.
He watches me go; he does not try to stop me.
I am grateful for this. Without my vision,
we are perfect. He wants to give me everything;
without my vision, I would accept it.
I want to find it for myself;
I can see the edge of town. I can see my feet walking.
My breath still labored from running,
I can feel my heart beating soundly in my chest.
The sun rises above the water I overlook;
it shimmers like shards of mirror catching
its own reflection in an infinite parabola.
As I walk, I realize I haven’t felt this wonderful
in many years. My body feels as though it’s lifting
into the sky; my feet nearly begin to skip
of their own accord. Nothing can stop me;
my strength, my invisibility feather like a peacock’s tail.
I wander into the town, into a cafe.
Standing behind the counter with coffee in hand,
he extends the warm paper cup,
with a cloth tied around the rim
in my direction.