Pagosa Springs Artists

Seeing with My Skin

The assignment excited my imagination.

I eagerly chose my blindfold, embracing

its challenge, all its promise, as well as

the gray-haired stranger who wold lead me.

My spirit opened its eyes as we set off, my

two hands in her firm and humanly soft grip

as she competantly led me around the first

corner into unknown territory.


She placed my hands on something inanimately smooth;

I stretched my fingers into a fan to feel its cool, hard shape.

Then I was directed to feel a succession of objects; obeying

like a child, still blindfolded, I first experienced them and then

was told their names.  We sidled through a swinging metal

doorway and I was aware of adding depth to the well of this

walk; we explored the puboic bathroom, the swinging toilet door,

porous paper towels, the mingled smells of soap and urine.


I experienced her laughter, her sense of humor, as she

sat me on a chair she knew I'd think was a toilet seat!

sly wit in that gray head!  I felt giddy at her unexpected jest.

My courage was challenged but heightened as we

continued to explore a sofa, table, coin on the tabletop,

and walking around an undecipherable space beyond

the limits of m;y recall.


I felt fresh air before I knew we had passed through

an open door; felt warmth on my shoulder as we

turned toward sunlight; felt the firm, imposing hardness

of the sidewalk underfoot and was suddenly afraid;

felt the reassuring softness of her body against my side

as she pulled me near to reassure me in that vast,

dangerous unknown of the unseen outdoors.

The return to our classroom was quicker than expected.

The route was almost familiar; I had passed this way bwefore.

I was almost disappointed to have my sensory adventure over.

I learned I had not only eyes, but other working senses

for information about my world.


first published in Illinois State Poetry Society 

©2016 Bonnie Manion


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