(04 October 1943 / Germany)

The Cataract Operation

The needle is formidable
now that the patient sees it.
A prick in a few places
the eyeball is surrounded
with seas of novocaine.
The scalpel next, a steady
but bold and swift attack,
the pupil sliced from top
to just a tip of tissue,
flips downward like a window
exposing cloudy gel.
Now comes the hook, a piece
of silver wire, curved,
and in and out then up and down
until the bloody mess comes out.
It was the lens, now useless,
an empty space remains.
Quick stitches now, then back,
a sandbagged bed for fourteen days.
While heavy glasses looking like
the bottoms of Heineken bottles
are made especially for you.
'You're good as new', the doc,
in happy mood pronounces now.
He is relieved that you survived
and that was nineteen-sixty-nine.

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