if I had such special glasses, maybe I could stop seeing, and wanting, my daughter and any kind of love
"Special Glasses" by Billy Collins
I had to send away for them
because they are not available in any store.
They look the same as any sunglasses
with a light tint and silvery frames,
but instead of filtering out the harmful
rays of the sun,
they filter out the harmful sight of you --
you on the approach,
you waiting at my bus stop,
you, face in the evening window.
Every morning I put them on
and step out the side door
whistling a melody of thanks to my nose
and my ears for holding them in place, just so,
singing a song of gratitude
to the lens grinder at his heavy bench
and to the very lenses themselves
because they allow it all to come in, all but you.
How they know the difference
between the green hedges, the stone walls,
and you is beyond me,
yet the school busses flashing in the rain
do come in, as well as the postman waving
and the mother and daughter dogs next door,
and then there is the tea kettle
about to play its chord—
everything sailing right in but you, girl.
Yes, just as the night air passes through the screen,
but not the mosquito,
and as water swirls down the drain,
but not the eggshell,
so the flowering trellis and the moon
pass through my special glasses, but not you.
Let us keep it this way, I say to myself,
as I lay my special glasses on the night table,
pull the chain on the lamp,
and say a prayer—unlike the song—
that I will not see you in my dreams.