Wednesday, June 25, 2008

THE THINGS THEY CARRIED #5






















The drawing was made on the front of an envelope sent by RTN from Vietnam in 1970.

When I first saw RTN in the Intensive Care Unit at the VA Hospital in Palo Alto on April 10th, his eyes were closed. When his sister told him I had come to be with him, he slowly opened his eyes. His left eye was the deep blue I remembered. His blind right eye looked very much like the sky in the photo below. I don't know how he became blind in that eye.

He was heavily sedated, and I'm not sure how well he could see me with his left eye. I held his left hand with my right hand. His hand held mine. His blind eye was surprisingly beautiful, like a late afternoon sky with a mixture of white clouds. I was reminded of what Alice Walker wrote in "Beauty: When The Other Dancer Is The Self" about her daughter's response to first noticing her mother's blind eye:

She studies my face intently as we stand, her inside and me outside her crib. She even holds my face maternally between her dimpled little hands. Then, looking every bit as serious and lawyer- like as her father, she says, as if it may just possibly have slipped my attention: "Mommy, there's a world in your eye." (As in, "Don't be alarmed, or do anything crazy") And then gently but with great interest: "Mommy, where did you get that world in your eye?"

4 comments:

Loren said...

Interesting that the yin-yang symbol should be at the center of the scales (of justice/) and between the infinity symbols.

I must admit that I find this series of works quite disturbing.

Dale said...

Wow. Very moving. Beautiful. And, as Loren says, disturbing.

Lee's River said...

powerful, all of it. I hope you breathe better and better as you let it come up, am.

Singing Bear said...

Am, your posts are so moving. Thank you.

There's something for you at my blog. Don't feel under any obligation.