My Grandfather's Eye

Written and presented by Anitra Freeman.
My grandfather had one eye.
All of us were fascinated -
we kids could show it.
He usually wore a glass eye in the socket,
but he could pop it out and pass it around
just like a marble.
Sometimes he wore a black patch like a pirate.
Sometimes he just let the barren lid
lie there and pulse.

He told us a different story every day
about how he lost his eye.
He'd grown up on a farm, after all -
he told us once a mule had kicked his eye
right out of his head.
The next day a pitchfork had poked it out
during haying season- that's why
you don't get careless handling pitchforks and such.
He'd been a lumberjack - a falling tree
had scratched his eye out;
a flying ember from the cookfire
fried his eyeball in the socket
just like an egg in a pan.
He used to smoke, and we shouldn't ever -
he smoked a cigar down too close once
and burned his own eye out.
I spent an entire evening
silently trying to unpuzzle that one -
I think that's why he told it to me.

When I was sixteen he told me
his Dad used to beat him when he drank.
He used to beat him with a chain.

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