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Gabriel Gudding

Poem About My Strabismus

— for Robert Duncan

If eyes are the windows of the soul, mine are bay windows.
Sometimes my eyeballs begin clubbing each other with paddles.
When the adults told me as a child to look both ways before I crossed the road
I could do it without turning my head.

I think I am crosseyed because my eyeballs are trying to see up my nose’s skirt.
But with my fingers I have lifted up the flap of either nostril
to show my eyes there is no vulva in my nares. A porpoise swam by

and my right eyeball punched it in the blowhole.

I saw the dog running from me
and my left eyeball gave it a good slug in the rectum.

It is a gruesome memory to recall my very sight being flung at a beagle’s end.

Eyeballs may be the gonads of one’s forehead —
Why else do we say “eye balls” unless “testicles of the face”?

When will my head fly off my body?
                  When my sight-wings untangle
You will see it out there in the field
eating acorns
and shitting oaks from the throat.

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‘Poem About My Strabismus’ is from A Defense of Poetry, by Gabriel Gudding, © 2002.
All rights controlled by the University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA 15261.
Used by permission of the University of Pittsburg Press.

This appearance of the material is also copyright © Gabriel Gudding and Jacket magazine 2004
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