On Love and Blindness

By Taylor Armstrong

i.
People say that love is blind.
I say, love is a thief.
Who goes about in the night
stealing people’s eyes.

Love has sight
and sleight of hand.
You are the blind one,
feeling your way along
with clumsy fingers.

Left to stumble
after a distant voice
whose face you’ve painted yourself.

ii.
Love comes silently
in through your mouth
following the gasp after a kiss.

He steals your eyes,
hides them away
in a box under the bed.

There they stay,
your eyes.
With the flowers you pressed
like promises.
The seashells that whisper
like memories.
The feathers you found
like hopes.

iii.
My mother took her eyes out
of her own free will.

Knowing love would come,
she gouged them out herself,
placed them in her pocket.

So she wouldn’t have to see
her children’s tears crawl
like caterpillars
down their cinnamon-bun cheeks

I see her take them out,
every now and then.
Rolling them in her hand,
like marbles.

I think she likes to pretend
she’ll put them back one day
when the time is right
so she can see the way out.

iv.
I will keep my sight.
When the fires rise
I will be the one
to lead us out.

I won’t see
the way you look at me
Or feel
your hand in mine.

Until I get cold
and long for the burning flames
you radiate
that will surely destroy me.

I will let them engulf me
as you take me into your arms.
But first:
Please steal my eyes.

image source “Pride and Prejudice” (2005) screen cap of the “Veiled Vestal” by Raffaele Monti

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