Your Living Eyes


Vijay Seshadri

They wheeled you, your caregivers did, to the picture window
to watch the birds fretting at the feeder.
Then they forgot you there, and you forgot them.
A thousand years later, the Angel of Death sidled in,
disguised as a little girl,
clutching at her pinafore and chewing the ends of her pigtails.
She had a look whose vacancy was over-rehearsed,
but I hear your interview with her went well anyway.
I hear, actually, that it went better
than anybody could ever have thought it would.
She said, “Beauty and sadness are never far apart.”
You said, “Bullshit.”
She said, “Some birds are real, some are invisible, but which are which?”
You said, “Back off, bitch.”
She stared out the window. Her eyes narrowed, but they didn’t touch.
What was she seeing, what was she saying to herself?
Do I know or do I care? Enough with these impassive forces-
this one or that other one, the one
who gave you life, you who gave me life.
The yellow of the finches is as molten as ever,
splashing on the holly bushes.
The moon, pale-white inside the pale-blue morning,
dropping its panicles of glass on the bright grass,
is climbing down. But the sun is climbing up.
The world your eyes see is the world as it really is,
and you and I are going to live in it forever,
and we will hitchhike to the Painted Hills together
and hop a freight back home.