The Chain

23 Nov

by Reja-e-Busailah

My Seeing Eye dog senses we are bent

on a long journey, long enough to keep us for a full day

chained to one seat on one plane.

 

She goes out of her mind with zeal,

like a child in the act of opening

the long-awaited present,

dream being realized,

and before I know it,

before we set out,

she has thrown all temperance to the dogs

and emptied to the drains

a bowl of water bubbling to the brim:

She knows

as though trafficking with powers

far above and beyond my ken;

and that’s the full extent of her innocence

and that’s the full limit of her association.

 

Then in despair I tear my hair,

or what is left of it,

less over what has passed

than over what is to come:

 

My vision,

my guide through the world’s pitfalls and snares

the only guardian to whose care

I would commit my whole being,

she who empowers me to make myself at home

in the mightiest of cities

most awe-inspiring,

she who enables me to relish

the Big Apple to the fullest,

frees me of fear when at its beaches,

its parks, its avenues, and squares,

at its stations grand, small, and modest,

in office, store, restaurant, and classroom,

she who fills me with fearlessness

when down deep in its big belly,

among the terrible snakes of B.M.T.s and I.R.T.s lying still or running,

not far from the treacherous serpent

disguised as the Third Rail.

She knows all,

and yet this angel,

this guardian angel,

can see no farther after all

 

than those who designed the feathered arrow

and took time off to rest,

and watched a dream the fall of albatross,

or than those who engender,

just to gaze spellbound,

that device, wondrous and beastly,

which travels far and fast

to bust the kidneys and bladders of continence.

 

Both she and they are cause-conscious,

both consequence-blind

in their calculations and traffickings

except when the shrewd inventors

are in the custody of cup or bottle:

 

Then in all fairness they do hold an edge,

a decisive edge over her,

for they can tell, she can’t I think,

the compelling if serpentine link

between first blush and crucial kiss,

between, pardon the impropriety, guzzle and piss—

the kind of chain least on a Seeing Eye’s mind.

Reja-e Busailah was born in Jerusalem and now lives in Indiana, U.S. He has been totally blind since infancy, from before the end of his first year. He has published poems in a variety of little magazines on different subjects. This poem is from a collection of poems, Poems Out of Sight, which he hopes to publish in the near future. Reja-e also in the process of having a memoir about his childhood published within the next few months.

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