When I was writing this poem, I googled ‘black eye’ and ‘what causes a black eye’ and ‘facts about eyes’.
I knew what caused a black eye, but the internet did not give me that answer.
In the book ‘Wilful Blindness’ Margaret Keffernan examines the concept of Wilful Blindness, which is what happens when people choose, sometimes consciously but mostly not, to not ‘see’ in situations where ‘we could know, and should know, but don’t know because it makes us feel better not to know.’
For domestic violence to take place, wilful blindness has to take place.
On the part of the victim i.e ‘How could I have been so blind?’. It’s common for a victim not to recognise that what is happening is domestic abuse.
But also on the part of society.
Domestic violence is happening under our noses/in front of our faces/
and we/you/I are wilfully blind.
That we are not born with tears
but learn them in the passing of a month.
That a black eye can be caused by a tennis ball,
a fist or a door. That blue-eyed people
share a common ancestor with every
other blue-eyed person in the world.
That there are microscopic creatures
living in our eyelashes. That these
will not speak up for us. That a black
eye fades from dark-blue to violet
to yellow-green. That dolphins sleep
with one eye open. That on seeing
danger the eye will close. That we
do not enter this world with colour.
That it takes only a few days for
a black eye to heal. That the eye
is the fastest moving part of the body
but not the fastest healing for that
is the tongue. That to avoid a black eye
make sure rugs and carpets are well placed
and there are no wrinkles in your floor.
Scorpions have twelve eyes.
Worms have no eyes at all.
To avoid a black eye, always wear
protective gear, such as a helmet or goggles.