It's okay if the word 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, and 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?


from Reading the Water, published by Northeastern University Press, © 1997 by Charles Harper Webb.