Iron in my Eyes, Periodic Table poem by Chicago poet Janet Kuypers

Iron in my Eyes

Janet Kuypers

bonus poem from the “Periodic Table of Poetry” series (#026, Fe)
(stemming from “You’ve Killed Me”, written 10/25/11)

You think I was joking.
You think I wanted this to happen.

But this is what it boils down to.
I can no longer respond.

After all I’ve been through,
I’d think you’d understand.

Come to me.
I dare you.
Open my eyelid.
Shine a light
right into my eye.

See if I respond.

I even heard
that someone said
I looked so pretty
in my hospital bed here,
wearing nice eye shadow.

I know I’m a dark girl,
but they had to be informed
that wasn’t eye shadow, and
that I had two black eyes.

You see,
that’s how the doctors know
I have a brain injury.
When the blood seeps
out from around my brain,
it collects
only in my eyelids.

Iron gives color to blood,
and coming through
from under my skin,
my blood-filled
must have been
a pleasant

You think I’ve got an Iron will,
and I do.
But at moments like these
I wonder
if I have cried Iron,
leaving it in my eyelids
for you to see.

They say your eyes
are windows to your soul.
And mine have been darkened.
Is it by you,
is it by the world,
is it by the hand I was dealt.

Is it all

All I know
is that mine have been darkened.
Even if it is by Iron.

Cadmium, “Periodic Table of Poetry” poem by Chicago poet Janet Kuypers


Janet Kuypers

from the “Periodic Table of Poetry” series (#048, Cd)
(stemming from “You’ve Already Paid for This”, written 09/14/09)

The battered woman
entered the all-night
gas station/grocery store.
The attendant sees
the man waiting in the car.
He looks
tense and angry.

The attendant looks at the woman.

is all she said.
The attendant glances at the car,
then looks at the rows of cigarettes
over the counter.
The woman says,
“it’s for my husband.”

The attendant asks,
“Which kind?”
The woman absent-mindedly says

The attendant
reaches for the package.

The attendant thinks
that even though there is more
of the poisonous Cadmium
in the food we eat,
the Cadmium’s easily absorbed
when you breathe it in
through these smokes.

Studies have even found links
between Cadmium and cancer,
the attendant thinks.

So the attendant looks at the woman
hands her the cancer sticks,
and thinks,
“you’ve probably
paid for this.”
Even though Cadmium
is used for pigments,
or nickel Cadmium batteries,
smokers get four to five times
more Cadmium in their blood,
and two to three times
more Cadmium in their kidneys.

The woman closes her purse.
The attendant closes the register.
Give it time,
was all
the attendant thought
as the woman left.