Un Chien Andalou
by Brian Thornton Brian Thornton

Brian Thornton's poems have been featured in several print and online publications, including Iron Horse Literary Review, War Literature and the Arts, Breakwater Review, and International Kurdish Press. Most recently, his collection Places We Were Never Meant to See received runner-up in the Hub City Press New Southern Voices Poetry Prize.

The padded vise holds my head
snug like a nun's habit draped sterile
in fear of what the doctor gods must do
with those knives and needles resting
on the table and I have to wonder
if Himler was an ophthalmologist
if he too wondered what hid behind
the ocular cavities of his patients
in Dachau or Auschwitz God damn
the fear I can't think straight my eyes
fixed on the neat and precise duplicity
laid out on that metal tray just above
my chin one set for each eye as to not
cross contaminate the cuts and Christ
the searing pain like a cigarette stabbed
into my temple promises I will feel no further
but remember always the disjoined effect
of one eye in place as the other slowly
scans the room controlled by curved forceps
as if half of my body has simply stood up
to meet the stare of the surgeon I want
to throw up I want to close my eyes
just to close my eyes and allow
the cadent strobes to flicker
like the shadow of the death moth
growing fainter and fainter until the ether
brings a simplicity of still horses
the comfort of a closed carousel

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