One Day, I Will Give My Eyes
to a Stranger

Paolo Monet
Sep 5, 2019 · 4 min read
Photo by Mantas Hesthaven on Unsplash

My mother says she got tired of crying,
of seeing the same things at home over and over;
she felt like she was shrinking
among the same furniture than thirty years ago.

Two or three times a day,
sometimes up to four,
she saw birds in the yard
pecking their dreams of being a singer,
and cars running over her dreams,
leaving them lying
as an abandoned dog on the road.

She says that after a certain age
she stopped expecting great things.
Her only wish became laughing
for more than three seconds,
or to cook something other than beans,
or to change clothes one night after work
and relaxing without the horrible sensation
of poorly made decisions.

She says that when she’s sad she wears gray,
and when she wants to renew herself
she cuts her hair.

Truth is,
all her clothes are the same shade of grey,
and her hair is so long it touches the floor.

My mother has holes
where her eyes should be,
because one day she cried so much
that her tears stained her face,
so she took her eyes out with a spoon
and gave them to a traveler.

She asked him to take them away
so she could see something more
than the misery in front of her.

For a very long time,
she walked with her head down
so the light won’t hurt her eyesockets.

But she smiled from time to time.
Washing the clothes of a rich family
became something better than it was
because she didn’t see the clothes any longer;
she could see portraits in a museum,
tourists walking between alleys,
smog-free sunsets in a yellow field,
with flowers the height of her face.

My mother tells me that if I behave,
she will take my eyes off
and give them to a stranger.

I’m already practicing
for when I go blind.
I close my eyes and try to walk,
I do one thing while I think of another,
and daydream with all of the things
the stranger will show me;
after all,
no one wants to watch all this misery.

I still have to eat,
but I need no eyes for that.
I don’t want to see my plate of beans
if I can see cakes
in a very beautiful palace,
or the greenest forest,
or pyramids in the desert.

That is way better than seeing the road
that takes me to school,
the dirty streets
and my worn-out shoes,
which no longer fit.

I need no eyes to take some coins
to go to the market
and buy some bread or some eggs,
and going to my uncle’s house
who lost his legs six months ago,
and feed him.

And he needs no leg
because his eyes are with some other guy
walking down the Buenos Aires’ streets,
or touring the Champs Elysées.

We all see
what’s in front of our eyes,
even if they are in the hands of someone else,
of those travelers who bring
our desires
right to our minds.

They like to walk with a big bag,
carrying the eyes of thousands of people,
taking us with them
to see what they eat,
what they drink,
and when they go to the bathroom.

Yesterday morning,
my mother saw the sky
from above the clouds;
at night, before bedtime,
she saw a pasta plate
with lots of tomato sauce.

She said she believed to be in Rome or Florence,
because it looked like the movies she saw as a child;
back home we were eating tortillas with salt,
but we were all happy:
it’s not every day that you get the chance
to take a family walk
in the country where the Pope lives.

One day, I will give my eyes
to a stranger,
I will tell him
that I don’t want to see myself
behind my old glasses any longer;
that he better take my eyes with him
and show me the universe.

I will only know his world,
but so far, I’ve only seen mine,
and I think that what he sees is way better.

I’ll be the same as my mother, and my uncle,
or my friends,
whom all watch only what others show them.

After all, those who give their eyes away
can only see what others want,
but anything is better than
that what we have in front of us,
so please, let me go blind,
and show me whatever you want.

If you enjoyed reading this, please consider buying my poetry and short stories book “Hello, Cactus.” Click here for more info. Thank you!

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