The experts say my disease is genetic.
It spreads across families without discrimination
and taps randomly on the shoulders of children,
condemning them to a life of waiting for
the world to become shadows and pitch.
I stand alone with my dying retinas,
cocooned in the muslin of a fading canvas.
I have searched for a family connection,
a blood born comrade in a life of darkness,
but they tell me there is no one.
As the years pass and my vision
careens down a steep precipice, I
remember stories of a paternal grandfather
I never knew; a good dancer with sensitive eyes,
who always wore rose tinted glasses.
He was only 32 when he died, leaving
my grandmother to turn him into legend,
and my father to fend for himself
against the grief of a broken mother.
The secrets of his blood are caged in mystery.
Did my grandfather pass down the
genetic code that chains me to blindness?
Are my eyes a reflection of his own?
I hold desperately to the idea that he is the link,
but in my family, legends don’t go blind.
Susan Richardson is living, writing and going blind in Hollywood. Much of her work focuses on her experiences as a partially sighted woman in a sprawling urban environment. Her work has been published in Free Lunch, The Old Red Kimono, Stepping Stones Magazine, Wildflower Muse, The Furious Gazelle, The Hungry Chimera, Sheila–Na- Gig and Chantarelle’s Notebook. In addition to poetry and creative non-fiction, she writes a blog called “Stories from the Edge of Blindness”.