Monday, February 4, 2008

Ciliary Body

I am working on the first section of my book of poems possibly titled On My Last Nerve. It is Ciliary Body, and this is the first poem in that section. It is about my fears of Multiple Sclerosis, which took my mother's life --- and is associated with a particular memory of visiting an eye doctor in hopes he could tell me whether my optic nerve had any signs of sclera.

First, however, readers might be interested in knowing more about the actual ciliary body:

Ciliary Body, #1

My inner body is as unknown to me
As the plains of Africa,
Its hills and valleys, crevices
Where mountain lions lie in wait
For the immune system to grow weary
And falter.

The bobcat’s tail swings in anticipation.
The cougar emerges from his nap.
All the cats set to pounce, to kill.
Deep in the night, I cannot rest for fear
They will smell me, they will leap.
My fingers clinch.

I try to think instead of mountain goats,
High, out of reach, sturdy on their feet.
Itinerant. Joyful.

But the king of beasts lazily
Moves toward me, not slouching toward
Bethlehem after all, not to be born
But to slay my paralyzed cells.
He is not to be tamed.
What preventive measures?
I am humbled by these felines,
Vaguely honored, in fact,
To be eaten nearly alive,
Neck snapped, spinal cord useless,
Vertebrae scattered.

Behind the iris,
I wait for those yellow days.

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