People | Legacies

What My Grandmother’s Eyes Have Seen

Around the time I was in seventh grade, I started performing makeshift eye surgery on my grandmother.

Drip, blink, drip, blink.

My mother only had one eyeKoreans back then didn’t have proper medical equipment—the Japanese controlled the supply. He was young and so confident, we didn’t know if he was even trained in ophthalmology. My mother didn’t even get pain medication. Just glasses, to protect her droopy eyelid. She squinted for the rest of her life.

I remember the aunties in the soju shop next door describing the cloth my mother held to her face. They said it was drenched red, she’d bled enough to fill a wash basin. She called her left eye a dog eye. I didn’t know if she meant fake (), or that they’d put in a dog’s () eyeI never knew. I couldn’t tell.

ShiwonhadaSo refreshing

A scamWe call that a doctor

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by my inability to see all that she has seen.

I miss youI want to see you

We’re seeing each other now