They sent you to live with a strange family for half a year,
rich enough to care for a cross-eyed girl, but not as fun
as your real parents or the brother you loved and terrorized;
the story is cinematic but the part I can never quite shake is
the horror of knowing
that you were wide awake
during the four-hour procedure
that I can’t even mention,
that gave you double-vision for a year and never liberated
you from a lifetime of cats-eyes and Coke-bottles; I cringe
at your inner canthus stretched by an epoch of spectacles,
even as the mischief that glints through the glass makes me
remember when we read
Colette and Maupassant,
and drew up ambitious blueprints
for houses beyond our means.
Those eyes recognize me sometimes, but I confess
I prefer the times when I’m a total stranger, and worthy
of your unconditional smile, the one that seems to say:
“Get me outta here, kid, and we’ll go find some trouble!”
I can’t help but suspect
this was the very same look
you gave that boy from the wire mill,
that lasted seventy-five years.
I think of the forty-two addresses, across eight states,
you’ve occupied; your visions of buildings rising and falling
must put mine to shame. I wonder if you’ve finally settled
into the one you loved best, or if it’s one that we designed.
I’m never there to see it
but I know you take them off,
and smile like I do, solaced
by the blur of the world.