Their eyes, a torture of unendurable beauty,
ravish with sidelong glances,
promise more than can ever be consummated.

Flame to my moth, they burn away oxygen,
mock the inspiration of my lungs,
allow only an eternal sigh.

Their eyes shout so loud to refute Donne
that my ears hurt:
Everyone is their own island!

I trudge the edges of this haunted atoll
as if struggling through banks of snow,
afraid to dive into the deep blues.

But I get no closer to their enticing eyes,
a distant fire in frozen wood that promises
lively conversation around warm flame.

Of whose eyes, you might wonder, do I speak?
Whose eyes pierce the igloo that shelters my heart?
To kill it or set it free I do not know.

Faded eyes of former lovers disappearing in time,
empty eyes of the painting on my wall,
eyes that laugh with jokes not meant for my ears.

They squeeze at my heart
until it threatens to burst and redden
the snow through which I tread.

Possibility remains so impossibly far
but I continue to trudge, circling my atoll.
Who knew a desert island could be so deep with snow?

If only they made skis to glide over frozen passion.
If only I had snow shoes to walk, slowly,
without sinking into the hills of my fear.

As long as I could experience their eyes once more
and truly meet the divine spark that lights the iris,
it wouldn’t matter if promises were fulfilled.

If only I could fly free of this prison for a moment,
knowing a look was meant for me,
I would throw myself into the fire of their eyes.


Note: The first line of this poem (italicized above) is the final line of the poem “Interrogator’s Notebook” by Martin Ott.

©2023 Kenneth W. Arthur