John Olivares Espinoza

Left Eye Losing Sight

As the sight in my left eye

Worsens each year,

The other gets sharper.

My right eye

Tells the other,

Do not fret.

I’ll watch over you

Like a little brother.




When I shut my right eye

The world loses all detail:

People become traces

Of themselves, souls of what

Once fitted flesh;

Ghosts of whose

World I have entered

Without earning my death.



I had an uncle

Who had gone

Completely blind

By the time

He was fifty.

The first and only

Time I met him

I was eleven

And asked,

What do you see

When you’re blind?

Nothing, he answered

Do you see black?

He said, Not even that.





My grandfather slept with a revolver

                                    Under his pillow.

Once, he unloaded it,

            Held the rounds   like a set of teeth.

He handed the pistol to my young brother

And he inspected

                                    Each curve

As if it were a woman’s sleeping body.

Before my brother handed me the gun

The barrel glared right at me—

I stared into      its one black eye

And flinched.




Shut one eye as you read

Or hear this.

What do you see out of the sealed eye?

Now imagine it in both eyes.

Do you now understand my uncle?