I’m in this. This isn’t me.
In here my crocheted tissues
only find me in reflections.
In here I only feel it sometimes,
a certain tightness as the grafts
draw down, an aching anesthesia.
I own no mirrors. You I can’t avoid.
It isn’t me you see scrambled so.
That surrounds me. I’m inside.
But now the world’s a shot flower,
now my shattered visage eats
at the squeamish citizens like sin.
Those who may have loved me once
have other obligations now.
It was a year before I recognized
myself accidentally caught in glass, but
I, too, felt the clammy urge to look,
absorb it, thrilling somewhere deep
at its livid anarchy. I, too, forced
my eyes from the shameful chaos,
the peeled, eloquent mortality.
Call me Patches. I’m just like you.
I’ll be your jackolantern,
count you lucky in your
pocked and bristled countenance.
Those gargantuan, grasping pores
I’ll take for my ideal. Don’t go.
I’m no different now. It’s only me.
I, too, have in me sometimes
that itch for the button,
you know the one, the one
that answers any question,
the Alexandrine stroke through
the charmed knot of existence,
flash fire in a universe of ice.
I’m like you. Something in me, too, loves
disaster, flames in the sky, flood,
must look when the inevitable
happens, have its fill
of the unspeakable roadside faces
framed in shattered webs of glass,
the startled, comely faces of the dead.
You know you want to. Go on. Touch it.