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.