I know, I know.
People say, 
”Allergies are a first world problem.”
”Get over it.”

As a child, I never complained
About scratchy eyes and throat.
My little kitten was too precious
to be told that she was the cause.

My whole life has been a cycle of wheezing,
sniffles, and eyes swollen, 
with translucent streams of tears
and matted eyelashes.

Cats, then dust, then pollen.
Cats, then dust, then pollen.
My chest wheezes and moans.
I shower, then sit, then avoid.

My eyes, swollen and tired.
Always tired, bloodshot and bruised.
Watery and teary-eyed.
Determined to stay happy.

For if I cry, 
I cannot breathe; I cannot see.
My chest wheezes and moans.
I shower, then sit, then avoid.

Once, my gritty, watery, snotty eyes
itched so much, were so painful.
That is to say, hurt.
I washed them with running water.

It did not help.
I rubbed them until 
My lids swelled shut,
Puffy and tender to the touch. 

It did not help.
I felt that if I could just scratch
The underside of my eyelid,
That would have to help.

It did not help.
So, I thought about people 
who wear contacts
And say, “I’ve something in my eye.”

With finger and thumb, 
I pulled my eyelids apart
As far as they could go.
Painful and sore as they were.

With my other hand, 
I was meticulous, really.
I pinched a corner of white, 
Carefully peeling it off my eye.

The iris came off with it,
Leaving only the pupil
And bloody, eye flesh.
Relief at last.

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