I lost my sight when I
stepped out of the Vietnamese café
into the dank December night,
my take-out for the family secured.
Put off by the sour-faced service,
the indecipherable English, the wait,
the dismissive good-bye, feeling piled on
after a day of contingencies and casualties,
I imagine racism from the waiter.
I head out and rip off my mandatory mask
as the strap catches on my glasses
and sends them flying into the night.
I'm immediately blinded,
peering down at the pavement as dark
and expansive as the night sky.
I take a cautious step, hoping
not to feel a crunch underfoot,
vainly hoping to see black frames
against a pitch-black sidewalk.
On my knees, my hands scan the ground
like a blind man—the search futile.
It’s a curse from the day and the café.
The Asian manners laugh in my head.
Then to my right, the vague outline
of an elderly woman. She approaches,
shuffling, muttering something
in Vietnamese, I presume.
“My glasses” I plead, motioning
to my eyes, “lost.” She stoops
gingerly, pointing to the ground.
Reaching where she points, my hand
falls on the distinct outline of spectacles.
My glasses again properly placed,
the night comes into focus--
the sidewalk, a lamppost, a tree. I'm saved.
Relieved, humbled and contrite,
I turn to thank the woman
who’s given me back my sight,
but she’s not there, disappeared
like an angel into the night.
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