Staking a Claim's image
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It seems a certain fear underlies everything.

If I were to tell you something profound

it would be useless, as every single thing I know

is not timeless. I am particularly risk-averse.

I choose someone else over me every time,

as I'm sure they'll finish the task at hand,

which is to say that whatever is in front of us

will get done if I'm not in charge of it.

There is a limit to the number of times

I can practice every single kind of mortification

(of the flesh?). I can turn toward you and say yes,

it was you in the poem. But when we met,

you were actually wearing a shirt, and the poem

wasn't about you or your indecipherable tattoo.

The poem is always about me, but that one time

I was in love with the memory of my twenties

so I was, for a moment, in love with you

because you remind me of an approaching

subway brushing hair off my face with

its hot breath. Darkness. And then light,

the exact goldness of dawn fingering

that brick wall out my bedroom window

on Smith Street mornings when I'd wake

next to godknowswho but always someone

who wasn't a mistake,

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