to have fucked up
your day by my body in
those old pink sweatpants
that don’t fit and are stained
from a cooking accident
on the thighs. It’s my fault
I have not kept up the dye
job and my roots are dull,
gray and inching towards
the ends. This belly fat
is about 6 years old
now, and the spots are from
an aging situation I inherited
from all the pale ancestors
who only recently emerged
from the forests we were banished to
by history, poverty, an act of murder
(long ago) and other bad luck,
real and imagined. I know
I could try to be someone else,
like a person on TV, perhaps,
but the only shows I watch
are English these days and
about the unfortunate,
where actors have yellowish
teeth and red eyes. No wonder,
you’d say, and I am only ashamed
in some distant, uninvolved way.
It’s not personal, I’d say
about my body if
you and I were actually able to speak,
it’s more like a kind of darkness
or artichoke. I can imagine
your laugh if I’d said that.
It’s craziness, really, that part
I secretly feel I must kill to survive,
to call that after a vegetable
which is actually a variety of thistle,
(the roots are called suckers!).
If I could hold hands with you
on public transport,
beside the woman who smelled
different from any of my people,
the man who said mother-
fucker many times in various
places in one long sentence
into a phone, the strollered
and beribboned baby (pierced ears)
who twitched in her guileless
sleep, and what then if you could say
I am hateful and despairing,
and I’d console: we all are too?


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