The Anxiety of Deliverance

15 Dec

by Mani G. Iyer

A whole fifteen minutes left

what if he shows up early

has the time wrong

left already, after waiting

the classical music wafting

through the waiting room is sombre

let’s get out.

Begin the descent

be careful

the stairs are not blind-friendly

use the right mobility techniques

remember the instructor’s admonitions

damn it, overstepped the last one,


A sweet-scented voice’s offer for help

humorously refused

blaming it on the instructor’s ghost

these stairs have treacherous depths

easy, easy, you can’t afford to fall

Ah, some light down below

wait, wait, the rails start one step late

stoop down to touch it

which bloody blind man designed these stairs?

The cane slips

rattles down in flight


hold your lifeline

one sure step at a time

is that sweet-scented lady anywhere near

ah, the bottom at last.


Get down on the knees

not in prayer of gratitude

grope for the cane

finally,the doors to freedom

wait inside

no, go outside

advertise your blindness

close to the door, though,

in case it rains.

The air is invigorating

where is he

he surely can’t miss the cane and the dark glasses

what if he is expecting a wheelchair-bound pickup

make a decision, quick

The watch talks

five more minutes

sounds and voices everywhere

a car door slams

no one is approaching

smell more scents of women

snatches of conversations

boyfriends and vacations,

can’t grab their attentions.

Finally,  a man’s attention

ask if he can see a white taxicab around

sorry, none in the vicinity


call the wife or friend,

warn them to get ready

wait for a few more minutes.


Check the time again

one minute late

action required

call the dispatcher

bypass the automaton

speak to a human

frustrating apologies and music

finally the dispatcher

a pronouncement

the driver is on time and is on his way

furtively scan with neck

A minute later,

a voice

“Sir, are you looking for the ride”

“Yes, yes”

a handle of an elbow magically appears

grab it

walk to the gaping car door

plonk into the passenger seat

He ignites the engine

“Was the wait too long?”

“Yes, but I enjoyed some fresh air”

“I am sorry you can’t see, but

it is a beautiful day”.

Mani G. Iyer was born and raised in Bombay, India and has lived in the United States since 1985.  He is deaf-blind due to Usher Syndrome.  He became deaf by the age of 4, night-blind by the age of 12, and now has very little usable vision.


2 Responses to “The Anxiety of Deliverance”

  1. Jeff Flodin December 17, 2011 at 10:14 AM #

    Thank you, my friend Mani, for once again telling it like it is. We are masters of breaking down tasks into each discreet movement, every deliberation, all manner of little parts. We would be good at writing instruction manuals, like the kind that come with Christmas toys where some assembly is required. I laugh when asked if bringing my cat to the vet, led by my Seeing Eye dog, is for, as the receptionist inquires, “a routine visit.” Yes, the cat exam might be routine, but, doc, you have absolutely no idea all that went into getting me, dog and cat six blocks through snow for our “routine” appointment.

    • Mani G. Iyer December 19, 2011 at 8:15 PM #

      Very well said, Jeff. We end up getting so wrapped up in the routine that we forget to smell the roses.

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