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fostering the humanistic practice of medicine publishing personal accounts of illness and healing encouraging health care advocacy

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Going Blind

Kirstyn Smith

I still dream Crayola:Scarlet, cherry, candy apple; 
Zeus’ breath, Antiguan shallows, Atlantic turmoil, August twilight; 
Green sings lime, martini olive, cypress, spring meadow, life. 
When I woke up this morning, I wanted to turn over.
Of course, you feel the same way.

I had a dream about cleaning my fingernails. I had this beautiful, shiny silver file and I
could see the brown of the dirt. Peach, compost, and ivory. Each nail suffered caked mud
beneath the many split layers, great time and precision to extract the telling debris. 
I worked to carve out the dirt, to rid my hands of the everyday work mess that drives my
soul and gossips my menial livelihood.

And I wish I could say that there was a dramatic culmination to my 
metaphorical dream. But I can’t. There wasn’t. 

I opened my eyes to see the plain old brown-grey dark 
that has been my life since the birth of my last child, the blindness that has coated my
every movement, every thought, every intention 
since before I could awaken to color and breathe.

Most days, I do not roll over. I don’t attempt to recapture the lost.
I trust my doctors to dream their colorful dreams for me.

I throw off the sheets and groan the same thing you do,
“Good morning. It’s time to get up.”

And we all roll out of our lovely dreams and begin this day. 
But I have no crayons.

About the poet: 

Kirstyn Smith is an English educator, amateur writer, gardener and cook. She is also a mom and community volunteer. Her writing has appeared in The Cornell Daily Sun and in Mercedes magazine, but most often in letters to her children from Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. Kirstyn has been losing her vision and gaining her insight since the age of eight, when she was diagnosed with a chronic degenerative eye condition. Since the total loss of her sight, she has found solace in the written word, the photographs it creates in the mind’s eye and the nuance of shifting perspectives that it engenders in readers.

About the poem:

“This piece began as a Stephen Moss-inspired 55-word story, a concept to which I was introduced by a dear friend who is a physician and fellow reader/writer. The 55-word draft felt more like an unused coloring sheet than a complete picture. As the weather changed in the mid-Atlantic region this fall, the colors that faded from the landscape ignited my memory and fueled my fingers to type the hues and textures between the black lines in this version of the story.”

Poetry editors:

Judy Schaefer and Johanna Shapiro

Call for Entries​

Pulse Writing Contest​​

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