Amber DiPietra

reservoir for oculus sinister


left eye
a broken pump
where iris flared
then rusted
the spigot

too much fluid
held to the back
while the front flakes
cells pressed
against lens slurry
and turn white

chemicals in
ophthalmic solutions
crystallize ocular tissues

delicate bleb
surgery blister acting as eye
above actual eye under lid
filtering what's caustic
from good aqueous humors

learn new options
for waking

roll eyeball
while lid
is still
closed to
avoid erosion


my boss
2 time Olympic
champ and local
advocate says
she can loan
me some of her fakes

blind from fetal glaucoma
at birth her eyes bulged

a baby fish
adapted to live under tons
of sea

it's all caustic now

i've watched
her fix her brilliant
blue prosthetics
on City Supervisors
until they opted to
support accessible
pedestrian signals

and i'm almost ready
to say yes
the oculus for anything
as smooth and cool
as glass


but, keep priming it
until it gets
so mean it gets
better or bursts
then floods*

*Author's Note: A friend once brought me a blue and white amulet from Greece. It had the look of a stylized eye. She said, "This is the ultimate evil eye. In that it is the counter to anyone or anything else who might be giving you 'the evil eye'. You can keep it on your person for protection and the best part is that when it has absorbed all the malignancy it can manage, it will shatter or crack and you will experience a healing."


Amber DiPietra is a poet who lives and works as an advocate and peer counselor in the Bay Area. Read more about Write To Connect (life writes for radical and everyday embodiments) and DiPietra's palmetry practice at Her poems and prose pieces have appeared or are forthcoming in Make, A Chicago Literary Magazine, Mirage Period[ica], Tarpaulin Sky, Mrs. Maybe, Monday Night, TRY! and Eleven Eleven. Her work is also featured in anthologies such as Somatic Engagement and Beauty Is a Verb. Her chapbook Waveform is a long poem, collaboratively written with Denise Leto. As an occasional performance artist, DiPietra has done shows with the Olimpias Collective, Axis Dance and recently, a solo piece at the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco.