An Anthology of Poetry and Medicine

Deciding Not to Wear Glasses

by Donna J. Gelagotis Lee

My eyes work double time—
presbyopia, myopia. The
afternoon blurs into real
time. What’s far becomes
near. What’s near, far.
The horizon is a haze of definitions.
Middle age, middle ground.
As much ahead as behind.
I rely on memory. How
much the mind informs
what surrounds it! The
ophthalmologist explains how
the brain adjusts the
picture. But I can feel the lens
adjusting—one moment it’s fuzzy;
the next, clear. And what I
thought I saw now is not
at all correct, but corrected.
It’s true. The object was a sharp
image on the retina at seventeen.
Now I juggle pictures
to find one that resembles
what I see. In a different city,
the signs point in all directions
with streets I’ve never known.
I search for meaning. I search
for the way—one that’s
easy, one that’s clear.


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