KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 11: Spring 2019
Prose Poem: 236 words

Softball-Sized Eyeball Washes Up
on Florida Beach

by Kathleen McGookey

A clear, deep blue, the eyeball was darkest in its center—picture an abyss—and ringed in black. The scientists took turns cradling it in their gloved hands. When night settled over the laboratory, they held it to the window and showed it the moon. Then the scientists flung themselves into their gold filigreed thrones, deeply dismayed. The moon and the eyeball had ignored each other. They wrapped and unwrapped the eyeball in silver heat-reflecting blankets. They tested it for loneliness and ghosts. They weighed it in ounces and grams and calculated its equivalent in vapor. Not all scientists approved of this approach. At the water cooler, a small group grumbled. If someone has something to say, one scientist said in a high, tight voice, I wish she’d just say it. That scientist clicked her pen and clipped it onto her white pocket. Anyone could see this wasn’t a friendly eyeball, yet they still petted its back, where a few stringy muscles dangled, so as not to obscure its view. They rolled it through the maze reserved for rats and recorded its speed. No one was surprised when the eyeball couldn’t find its way back to the start. Every test proved inconclusive. In the end, the scientists settled for sitting in a circle and gazing into its blue-black depths. Even though it felt like drowning, none could look away.


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