Before puberty I knew the I: Mowgli, Maris,
Boy shadowing Tarzan; Ethnographer of dirt kingdoms;
Scientist of worm and dandelion blow;
Impresario of The Ant & Beetle Circus; witness to twisting deaths
of caterpillar and moth (placed gently in the web
by hand). After puberty I no longer knew who came
and went within this I but knew a woman
was somehow implicated; somehow a woman carried,
beneath her clothes, a major clue.
Everything I had I gave to seeing through that fabric.
I never believed in the social me—loath to speak,
to intrude—though he did what he could.
On clear nights, frost entered my definition, as did
the language I learned at work with men.
When my father died, his self exploded
invisibly. But I felt particles streak through my body.
I am accumulation, lust, barrels of Seagram's,
memory, a few grains only of selflessness. My children
were made, not begotten. They carry my letter
of recommendation in and beneath the skin–proteins, enzymes,
electrolytes. I have offered it all up for renovation
many times with a smirk and crossed fingers, once in earnest.
Every day I am forgotten, a new man.
TODAY IN SLATE
I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.
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