Listen to Henri Cole reading this poem. Some mornings I wake up kicking like a frog.
My thighs ache from going nowhere all night.
I get up—tailless, smooth-skinned, eyes protruding—
and scrub around for my original face.
It is good I am dreaming, I say to myself.
The real characters and events would hurt me.
The real lying, shame, and envy would turn
even a pleasure-loving man into a stone.
Instead, my plain human flesh wakes up
and gazes out at real sparrows skimming the luminous
wet rooftops at the base of the mountain.
No splayed breasts, no glaring teeth, appear before me.
Only the ivory hands of morning touching
the real face in the real mirror on my bureau.
TODAY IN SLATE
I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.
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