Once, I worked for a veterinarian…

Tapetum Lucidum

The kitten was too small for anaesthetic,
its eyes had hardly opened, she was unspeakably young.
Her cornea had been abraded by her mother’s own infectious tongue,
rough with tooth-like hooked papillae, scoured her eye
in a misplaced act of gentleness transformed into brutality
by the ignorance of love.

First the cornea succumbed to clouding,
then the lens, faint colours quickly fading,
until even the tapetum lucidum, that bright tapestry,
dimmed like a tarnished mirror, relinquishing
its iridescent blue, extinguished before night.

The eye was swollen to a pendulous tuber
by the time that her owners brought her in;
a grey-green agate the size of a yew berry jutted,
tremulous, from that small skull.

I held that fevered body in one hand,
drugged with opiates, as the veterinarian lapped
the spongy orbit with the nurturing blade,
expunging the eye and most of the socket.
My finger were hooked beneath her armpits,
holding her still as she, unconscious, writhed.

The eye plopped free, stone-coloured decay
landed and split against the mirrored surgical table,
kept at all times scrupulously clean and anointed with bleach.
What followed was a scent unlike any other; sharp,
and hideously appetizing; grapes softened to brownish purple rot,
the most ancient of cheese, rising like an offering as I packed the cavity
with gauze and antibiotic cream.

I sewed shut the eyelid with my own right hand,
another pointed tongue inflicting her with life,
and left her clean and addled in the cage that I had drawn her from
to awaken there in rags and squalor, to meals, and the rattling bars.


About Bethany W Pope

Bethany W Pope is an award winning author of the LBA, and a finalist for the Faulkner-Wisdom Awards. Her work was listed for the Cinnamon Press Novel Competition. She received her PhD from Aberystwyth University’s Creative Writing program. Her first poetry collection, A Radiance was published by Cultured Llama Press in June. Her second collection, Persephone in the Underworld has been accepted by Rufus Books and shall be released in 2016. Her work has appeared in: Anon, Art Times, Ampersand, Blue Tattoo, Sentinel Quarterly, The Delinquent, De/Tached (an anthology released by Parthian), The Writer’s Hub, New Welsh Review, Every Day Poems, And Other Poems, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Magma, Words & Music, The Quarterly Conversation, Tears in the Fence, Ink, Sweat and Tears and Planet. Her work is due to appear in the next issues of Poetry Review Salzburg, Acumen, Pacific Poetry , Music& Literature, Anon, and The Screech Owl.

Posted on August 6, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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