New Eyes for the New Year

by Joanna Fuhrman

Joanna Fuhrman

The eyes on a face have brought me sadness:
the right eye searching for seams in ripped fishnets;
the left eye lost and wandering the dark; the eye
of the baby god crawling behind a couch in the moist
suburb where we planned our escape from video games
and grilled cheese; the eye of a whale we met in a dream
who spit us out so we could make the 8 o’clock screening
of On Golden Pond; the eye of the clock, blinking
when the oboe wailed like a burning shofar; the eye
inside the eye, curled up—a sprouting lima bean,
remembering the nineteenth century, those rosy drapes;
the eyes of missing finger tips, of sad afternoons
in French cafés in Dayton, Ohio; the eyes on the very
real parrot who sits on the shoulders of a wax actor
dressed as a pirate; the eyes of an actress, pretending
to be my mom; the eyes of my father, sleeping on a train,
dreaming about miniature crashing planes; the eyes
of a swimming pool, looking up or down everyone’s
swimsuits and into their souls; the eyes in love
songs written by mean men; the eyes in the painting 
lost in a fire where we tried to save the ancient cat;
the eyes underneath tap shoes clicking like teeth;
the eyes of Fred Astaire, never blinking, even to kiss
in the dark; the eyes of the state of Texas secretly
tattooed on everyone’s ass, and the eyes on the billboard,
ripped and faded from rain like the eyes of the best waitress
on the Upper West Side who knows everyone’s order,
even those of customers she’s never met.
Can you hear the eyes under my eyes?
They steal other people’s dreams to use them for ad copy.
Here are the eyes of a man who’d be my husband if he
hadn’t married my twin, and there are the eyes of the judge
who divorced them, blue as his tie. I forget the eye color
of the first man I loved—what color was my hat when we cried
in the snow? The whites of everyone’s eyes swirl together
in silent music. Nothing like the closed eyes of a flamenco dancer,
eating a dripping hamburger by the highway. Instead it is
the right eye of a teacher when she touches her student;
the eyes inside my mouth and the eyes outside your mouth;
the eyes of the writer and reader, a broken vase and a whole petal;
the eyes on what you thought of as a cunt and the eyes
on what I thought of as a cock; the small eyes on the open book
and the bigger eyes of the closed book; the eyes I swallow
when we talk, and the eyes that fly above us in sleep.

Last updated November 24, 2022