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By Lee Sharkey

A rubber-coated metal bullet struck Ziad's eye during clashes in Bethlehem. . . . His eyeball fell in the palm of his hand and . . . he kept holding it till he reached the hospital. He thought they could put it back in.

                                                        -Muna Hamzeh, Refugees in Our Own Land

What do you do with an eye in the cup of your hand?

What do you see that you didn't?

What do you make of a sphere of jelly with fins of torn muscle?

What do your fingers impress on the rind?

Do you rush it to hospital, where a surgeon waits to fuse sight to vision?

Does the eye have a nationality? a history?

Does the eye have a user name?

Its own rubber bullet?

Where is the eye transcribed?

A little globe there and you are the keeper

Of the watery anteroom, the drink of clear glass

Dear eye

Once it lay snug in fat in its orbit

Once it saw as a child

Through humor a peppering of stars

Added: Monday, June 30, 2014  /  From "A Darker, Sweeter String" (Off the Grid Press 2008). Used with permission.
Lee Sharkey
Photo by Al Bersbach.

Lee Sharkey is the author of Walking Backwards (Tupelo, 2016), Calendars of Fire (Tupelo, 2013), A Darker, Sweeter String (Off the Grid, 2008), and eight earlier full-length poetry collections and chapbooks. Her work has appeared in Massachusetts Review, Crazyhorse, FIELD, Kenyon Review, Nimrod, Pleiades, Seattle Review, and other journals. She is the recipient of the Abraham Sutzkever Centennial Translation Prize, the Maine Arts Commission’s Fellowship in Literary Arts, the RHINO Editor’s Prize, the Shadowgraph Poetry Prize, and Zone 3’s Rainmaker Award in Poetry. Lee lives in Maine, where she teaches a writing workshop for adults recovering from mental illness and serves as the Senior Editor of the Beloit Poetry Journal, which published chapbooks of the work of Split This Rock poets for the first and third Split This Rock festivals. Please visit her website

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