Poem of the Week: Eyes

Painting by Sarah Ashley Longshore

"Eyes" by William Matthews 

The only parts of the body the same   
size at birth as they’ll always be.   
“That’s why all babies are beautiful,”   
Thurber used to say as he grew   
blind—not dark, he’d go on   
to explain, but floating in a pale   
light always, a kind of candlelit   
murk from a sourceless light.   
He needed dark to see:
for a while he drew on black   
paper with white pastel chalk   
but it grew worse. Light bored   
into his eyes but where did it go?   
Into a sea of phosphenes,
along the wet fuse of some dead   
nerve, it hid everywhere and couldn’t   
be found. I’ve used up
three guesses, all of them
right. It’s like scuba diving, going down   
into the black cone-tip that dives   
farther than I can, though I dive   
closer all the time.


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