“Blind” by Charles Harper Webb
Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High Schools, Hosted by Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2001-2003
It's okay if the world goes with Venetian; Who cares what Italians don't see?- Or with Man's Bluff (a temporary problem Healed by shrieks and cheating)-or with date: Three hours of squirming repaid by laughs for years. But when an old woman, already deaf, Wakes from a night of headaches, and the dark Won't disappear-when doctors call like tedious Birds, "If only..." up and down hospital halls- When, long-distance, I hear her say, "Don't worry. Honey, I'll be fine," is it a wonder If my mind speeds down blind alleys? If the adage "Love is blind" has never seemed So true? If, in a flash of blinding light I see Justice drop her scales, yank off Her blindfold, stand revealed - a monster-god With spidery arms and a mouth like a black hole- While I leap, ant-sized, at her feet, blinded By tears, raging blindly as, sense by sense, My mother is sucked away?
—Charles Harper Webb
from Reading the Water, 1997
Northeastern University Press
Copyright 1997 by Charles Harper Webb.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of Northeastern University Press from Reading the Water. Copyright 1997 by Charles Harper Webb. For further permissions information, contact Northeastern University Press, 360 Huntington Avenue, 416 Columbus Place, Boston, MA 02115, phone 617-373-5480, fax 617-373-5483.
About the Poet
Charles Harper Webb is the author of over a dozen poetry collections, including Brain Camp (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015). He teaches at California State University, Long Beach.
Learn more about Charles Harper Webbat The Poetry Foundation.