This Friday’s poem, Letter to My Optician, comes from Judy Brown’s 2011 Forward shortlisted debut collection, Loudness. A straightforward manner and a gift for ironic humour belie the artful complexities and the exacting observations evident in her work.
Letter to My Optician
I will soon feel you tightening the frames
from which you add or subtract lenses, hear
your breath as you peruse my aqueous humour through fluorescein. It was Christmas
morning when I started to yearn. Just then
the neighbours were galloping in inflatable horse-suits on Red Post Hill. I felt like crying
at the mum’s face when the three returned,
their novelty equines starting to deflate. I love
the way you look on the bright side, never mention my minus 14 vision, saying the backs of my eyes
are marvellous despite it all. I fell asleep
to my parents’ two televisions and the house’s sound effects – silvery CFCs chuckling
in a fridge, the kettle’s huff and click, thunder troubling the far side of the Rio Grande.
That night I dreamed, and I believe it malefic,
that the Autobank dispensed a Hong Kong
dollar note in substitution for a crisp twenty.
But I want to talk about food, how I added grated onion and garlic to the packet Paxo, the huge sweetbready joy of the Holland & Barrett
chocolate brazils, how we compared two
types of Stilton and ate the better oatcakes.
I could go on, but I’ll see you soon, and
your ziggurat of dwindling capitals, your machine for testing if parts of the retina have started
to flunk. I hope I have not fallen farther
into the red, and that things will be different
from how they have been for some time.
Judy will be reading at The Continental in Preston tonight at 7:30pm. Tickets are £4.00 on the door with proceeds going to Cancer Research UK. The Continental, South Meadow Lane, Preston, Lancashire PR1 8JP // Tel: 01772 499425 for reservations and event tickets.