Planet of the Blind

Blindness is often perceived by the sighted as an either/or condition: one sees or does not see. But often a blind person experiences a series of veils: I stare at the world through smeared and broken windowpanes. Ahead of me the shapes and colors suggest the sails of Tristan’s ship or an elephant’s ear floating in air, though in reality it is a middle-aged man in a Londog Fog raincoat that billows behind him in the April wind. He is like the great dead Greeks in Homer’s descriptions of the underworld. In the heliographic distortions of sunlight or dusk, everyone I meet is crossing Charon’s river. People shimmer like beehives.

— Stephen Kuusisto, Planet of the Blind (Delta; $14)

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