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Protein Deposits on the Eyeball! Run for your Lives! FREE TO VIEW

Mary Kennan Herbert
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Editor’s Note: The author writes, “My ophthalmologist’s comment about protein deposits caught my attention and inspired these poems. I teach literature and writing courses at Long Island University.”

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.

Chest. 2014;145(5):1171. doi:10.1378/chest.13-2209
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Ophthalmologist looks into my eye,
eyeing the interior whence most of my knowledge cometh,
and calmly states, “I see protein deposits that are
a NORMAL part of aging.” Geezer that I am,
the good doc does not want to send a message of alarm.
Still, the prescription calls for me to gobble
eye vitamins– goodies for the flesh and my pharmacist,
and pharmaceutical manufacturers who usually
do not write poems. But what do I know?
I just won’t drop it, though. You already knew that.
So I leap into the Internet and learn that protein deposits
in an innocent eyeball are often a marker for dementia
and Alzheimer’s. I’m sweating.
My eyes are my tools, leading me to images, words,
rhymes, and necklaces of poetry. Ahem. This is
what I do. Think, before you lose it, says brain.
I always thought I would be happy as long as I could
Now a new template emerges: if I cannot remember
words, why will I need those flawed eyes, or the quill pen
to write down these INSIGHTS, get it? Not a good day,
and the Mets lost.




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