The National Catholic Review
Bruce McBirney
A brownish-yellow V-shaped blur,
With spidery strings unfolding to each side,
Floats slowly past my field of view,
Then bounces, dances, when I turn my eyes
To left or right, or up or down.
A floater, says the doctor. No big deal.
A spot of gel inside the eye
Has loosened from the retina and pulled
Away, but throws a shadow there.
It likely won’t get worse. He winks and smiles.
But if it does, you’ll know. It flares
Like fireworks, or else drops a curtain down.

A tiny imperfection to remind
One that the world is graced with flaws,
But also meant, perhaps, to give one pause.

My yellow blind spot floats and jerks up high
Before the lovely, red-swirled sunset sky,
And teases that it may
One day hold total sway.

So too an angry jeer,
Or just a word
That cuts too often and too near,
Is quickly said, but deeply heard,
And has the power
To sear and to erase
Within an hour
A love you gave up half your life to chase.

The Editors of America are pleased to present the 2002 Foley Poetry Award, given in honor of William T. Foley, M.D.

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