I apologize for
the eyes in my head.

-Yusef Komunyakaa

The more I learn about brains, the less I trust them. They make a lot of decisions about what you see without consulting you. They’re trying to save you the pain of not knowing, so maybe you’re inclined to forgive them, but I’m tired of mine filling blind spots with the grainy extrapolations of the world around me. I’m tired of its entitlement in deciding which memories I’ll dream and how to warp them into the grotesque iterations I carry for days. Once, it decided I worried too much about life on the fringes, and crowned my vision with a light more suited to hypnosis than navigation. It turns out—most bodies avoid life in the center. Tunnel vision cultivated my love for the dark. Many hangers-on came unmoored in that time and I let them drift away. I’m sorry—I had to step out of the light. I had to count breaths to learn the value of a single moment. For all its ideas about lessons I need, my brain still doesn’t know how to live in the moment. It can’t listen to a song without trying to guess the next note. One day I’ll fly away. If it would just wait one second it would know for sure. Leave your love to yesterday. It’s heard this one before. I think it’s trying to impress me with its intuition. Some languages, with their tenses, fool the brain into believing time is a resource. I’m sorry, but the past is up for debate and the present is only perception. You might regain the upper hand by learning Mandarin. Even then, your brain may still perceive time as a fourth dimension. I’m sorry—the future is expanding, and my brain only hears it beg for shape.

  • The epigrah comes from Yusef Komunyakaa's When in Rome—Apologia.
  • In early 2014, I experienced by first vision migraine. I had never heard of them, so I briefly thought I was going to be blind.
  • This poem was first published in Rivet: The Journal of Writing That Risks.