How Experiments End
I agreed to live in darkness once
in a basement where my eyes
widened, then tried to enter
the window I swore I saw floating:
in the center, where the brain makes the mind
and tries to make it larger,
the portal where relatives
are whispering and playing cards.
My family spent years this way
in Denmark, saving for a ship gnawed by salt.
The ship is dark. The sea, dark.
The eyes at sea manufacture things:
cities with taxi lights and potato flowers,
termites gnawing wood in Moscow and New York.
Once, I saw a patient with bandaged eyes
leap screaming from bed
as though tormented by rats.
Somehow he made it down the narrow hall,
down the stairs. It had been a beautiful day
in America, and my relatives had missed it,
but they raised their hands
religiously to the last light
as though examining their fingernails.
My aunt Marcia says her older sister,
her favorite sister, died at sea.
Lonnie, who's listening from the other room,
says, Sister? What sister? and they argue.
As for me, I was born in America.
I've invented everything I know.