A Poem by Maryfrances Wagner

Eye Tests


The first technician says, Click

each time you see a flashing light.

I click and click and click.

Let’s try taking a picture of your retina,

she says and switches me to another

machine that flashes light into my eye.

I am blind until framed prints dance

on the office wall like gray ghosts—

so much like teen summers I spent

in a lounger staring into the sun’s

hot eye. Red haze follows me

to a chair.  I wait until another technician

calls me.  Can you see this? she asks

handing me a photo. I see what appears

as Vaseline oozing in my eye around

tiny blood vessels.   She shows me

another photo.  This is a healthy eye,

she says.  No globs on this photo.  I see,

I say.  We call that drusen, she says.

Let’s take one more.  Get ready

for the flash.  The other technician

reports you clicked too many times.  

What does this mean?  I ask.

The doctor will speak to you soon, she says.

Outside, the sun so bright

and young and tan.

Maryfrances Wagner’s books include Salvatore’s Daughter, Light Subtracts Itself, Red Silk (Thorpe Menn Book Award for Literary Excellence), Dioramas (Mammoth) and Pouf (FLP).  Poems have appeared in New Letters, Midwest Quarterly, Laurel Review, Voices in Italian Americana, Unsettling America:  An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry (Penguin Books), Literature Across Cultures (Pearson/Longman), Bearing Witness, The Dream Book, An Anthology of Writings by Italian American Women (American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation), et.al.  She co-edits I-70 Review.


3 thoughts on “A Poem by Maryfrances Wagner

  1. As a Wagner fan and someone who’s visually impaired, this poem is terrifying. But what brilliant writing! How wise not to answer our questions. Everyone will be waiting for the answer poem. Alarie


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s