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The operation

To help my mother’s eyes
small gold weights
might be placed
in her eyelids.

Naturally the eye
is always open.
It is an effort
that lets us sleep.

I imagine the pharaohs
may have had gold
in their eyelids, too —
some high sign of wealth.

The extra weight
relieving all the small muscles
of their expectations —

some new medicine
for the aches
in the dark temples
of these gods of men.

My mother and the bent-
bearded men sharing
this gold, blinking.

My mother’s eye
a blue beside
the pull of black.
Open, a queen of Egypt.

Closed, the eyes
of her failing nerves.