Landscape, through Blurry Windshield

During one of my last eye check-ups  
before I learned he passed away,
the ophthalmologist who liked to have
his poodle nearby while he examined
patients said sotto voce, You may be
a candidate for early cataracts
— And just
like that, I felt the edges of the room
fog up with clouds soft as the ringlets
of the dog sleeping fitfully in the corner,
one ear draped over a paw. The normally clear
lens of the eye, a little lake filled
with water and protein, turns
gradually murky with age: the color
of a milk tea pearl, the texture of an agar
pellet that didn't completely dissolve.
Sometimes, in the early stages, there will be
a sudden sharpness in near vision, a temporary
sense of "second sight." Then, as you drive
in the mountains at night looking for the right
fork in the road that will take you to the cabin
retreat you worked so long all year to get to,
the windshield blurs into a kind of impressionist
painting: behind it there could be a sky
reeling with stars, a gas station marquee;
the faded neon signs of the last La Quinta
or Starlite Motel, endless open stretches
before the next town comes into view.



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