Optical Reclusion

Written by Meghan Rennie

I see eyes where there are no eyes: in the pits of fruits, in the centres of flowers, in the hinges and knobs of appliances. In abstract patterns and pictures of nature. In corners and in secrets. 

I see eyes inside of myself, eyes watching what my eyes watch. Me, watching myself, committing a sin and then confessing, absolving it in one efficient motion, expunging my experience as it comes to me. I’m assessing myself and learning, learning nothing, understanding nothing, my eyes unfocusing and sliding off the page, tumbling like a body, dead before it hits the ground. I try to catch my reflection misbehaving in the mirror. I’m guilty, haunted by my own ghost. 

I see eyes on white walls, eyes experiencing snow blindness. Eyes in the deep pocket of myself where there is no light to see. Eyes turned to face eyes, staring suspiciously, seeking unceasingly, producing nothing more than a discourse between mirrors. Eons of tied-game staring contests. An eternity of distorted CCTV footage, its static gestating into satanic codes and Rorschach tests. 

I am under infrared surveillance. I am under helicopter parenthood. I feel like an only child, like my own Big Brother, like the family favourite. I feel like a beacon that my ancestors made a pilgrimage towards, and I don’t know how to justify their journey. 

I see eyes that are trained on me. They’re trying to make me out from a distance, and they are failing, so how can I help that they don’t like what they see?

I see eyes that view in microscopic HD, too close to capture the full picture, their vision so condensed and ineffable. I am being judged by the contents of my pores. I am being judged by my husbandry of dust mites. 

I see eyes, and I see myself being seen. There’s no seceding from this sight, no exit found to get me free. 

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