Richard King Perkins II

Extended Wear

It was the first wave of extended wear contact lenses

but they didn’t work for me—


got glued to my eyeballs,

the surface of my corneas infected and abraded


until seeing was as painful as a kidney stone attack

or a cluster headache


and left me puking from pain.


The only minor relief I could get was misted water

from the shower


or the breeze generated from running around my pool table

in circles,

naked and crying, until I was exhausted


then whimpering back to the shower,

a cycle that lasted at least three hours.


Finally, I drove to the eye clinic

prying open my left eye with my fingers


and when I got there they treated me right inside the doorway

with liquid Novocain

and clucks of pity.


I was nineteen and ballsy as fuck

but I was on my knees

in total fealty


to an old woman with a squeeze bulb dropper

and twenty-five cents worth of medicine.

Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL, USA with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart, Best of the Net and Best of the Web nominee whose work has appeared in more than a thousand publications.