July/Aug 2022 • Vol. XLIV No. 4 Poetry |


Purged in the fire of the cauterizer—proteins hard as metal shards pulverized by drill in the longed-for, mourned-for eye, stray lash glued under the lid a casualty midprocedure—across the dark start of morning, I rise, am revived behind the prescribed face shield to fresh dressings and a warning: this is what you’ve been missing. We look at the world once, in childhood. / The rest is memory, Glück wrote years before my sight dulled to a bubble of soap, beached jelly gritty with sea. Behind the flat planet of dilation, the artificial lens settles while, draped in blue, attendants flit about the room like little hummers, shooting beak-like needles to feed the drip, their clear killers sweet as sugar and cold as snow as the flurries go quietly surging. Through afternoon, my left eye meets the right in sleep, consoles the wound. They were born together, spent a life together, wept and burned and strained, mapped hours in the changing shadows of trees together. Rarely have th

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Photo of Shara Lessley

Shara Lessley is the author of The Explosive Expert’s Wife (University of Wisconsin, 2018), a winner of the Sheila Margaret Motton Book Prize, and Two-Headed Nightingale (New Issues, 2011), as well as coeditor of The Poem’s Country: Place & Poetic Practice (Pleiades Press, 2018), an anthology of essays. A former Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University, Lessley has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, Washington College’s Mary Wood Fellowship, the Diane Middlebrook Poetry Fellowship from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, Colgate University’s Olive B. O’Connor Fellowship, and a Discovery/The Nation prize, among others. Her work has recently appeared in American Poetry Review, Copper Nickel, Magma, Bennington Review, IMAGE, and Best American Poetry 2020 and Pushcart Prize anthologies. A consulting editor for Acre Books, Lessley lives in Dubai.

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