I never finished the psychology text I read
to David on Tuesday afternoons in his dorm room,
stifling with the smell of his guide dog, a yellow lab
(who ignored me with abandon) and something else—
the medicinal odor of illness just before
it passes the threshold into death.
We’d just started the chapter on perception
when the taproot in his occiput reached down
into David’s brainstem to feed on new tissue.
If he saw it coming, he gave me no signal.
He lay on his bed those fall afternoons
like a corpse waiting for the soul’s flight,
listening as I read over the dog’s huffing breath,
because I was being paid to read by the hour,
and because by listening, he remained part
of the intricate slipknot: desire and fulfillment.
"Vision" first appeared in Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry, fall 2004, vol. 48, no. 1.