My best friend Charley was allergic to sunlight. I keep his photos

in milk cartons by the window, my little mole man under a hood

and baseball cap, only his librarian glasses showing. Charley and I

shared a room. He painted his eyes everywhere, told me to leave

mine open since I was the kid who fell down stairs, broke my back

in three places. At night, I'd come home to valerian steeping in

a teapot, see neon eyes on shirts, pillows, and muddy work boots,

perfect cat-green irises dilating in the room's darkness. Once,

Charley painted barracuda eyes on the tips of my swim fins

so I wouldn't trip. Last winter, he was moving a broken piano

across the street—the church left it at the curb for free. He may

have slipped because of the weight, the frost, the dump truck.

The sun struck the chrome bumper, the plunging light caught

the boy full of eyes when he wasn't looking.