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118: Migraine: Aura and Aftermath

Migraine: Aura and Aftermath
by Claudia Emerson

First, part of the world disappears. Something
is missing from everything: the cat’s eye,
ear, the left side of its face; two fingers
from my right hand; the words from the end
of a sentence. The absence is at first
more absolute than whatever darkness
I imagine the blind perceive. Perfect,
without color or motion, nothing replaces

what is gone. The senses do not contradict. My arm
goes numb, my leg. Though I have felt the cold air
of this disappearance before, each time the aura
deceives me to believe reality itself
has failed. I fear this more than what it warns
because I cannot remember I will survive it.

The other half of me will shine all night,
defined by the eclipse.
                                        Then, in the relieved
wake of the day that follows it, I will
find my hand, count my fingers, and beginning
to see again, will recognize myself
restored to the evening of a righted room.

"Migraine: Aura and Aftermath," from LATE WIFE by Claudia Emerson. Copyright © 2005 by Claudia Emerson. Used by permission of LSU Press.

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