Member Monday: Pale Eyes, Empty by Linda Boyden

Welcome back to Member Monday.  We conclude our series on fathers with poet, illustrator, storyteller and children’s author, Linda Boyden.

Pale Eyes, Empty

by Linda Boyden

the morning my father went blind,
I found it hard to breathe;
the effort of
taking air in and
letting it out
weighed me down,
the morning he went blind.

the morning my father went blind
the echo of his words,
I want to go to the mountains and die,
swelled inside my chest,
grew into a cloud
that filled my lungs,
the morning he went blind.

the morning my father went blind
I wanted to take him by the hand,
the way he had taken mine as a child,
and lead him to his Tennessee mountains,
to his beloved place,
the morning he went blind.

we’d walk along the trail and
I’d tell him the Cherokee story
of the Valley of the Butterflies:
“Some say, butterflies will come,
thousands of dancing butterflies,
to beguile you with their colors,
and lead you to your doom.
But the trick, Daddy,
the trick is not to look.”

He’d smile then,
pale eyes empty, but face bright,
knowing there was still something
he could outsmart,
the morning my father went blind.

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