Saturday, December 04, 2004


It amazed him to wake up that fine morning and find himself staring through the same eyes at the same trunk, legs, feet and hands. He could move these objects up and down at his own will, and this he tried a few times: first a hand here, then a foot there. It was almost as if they operated by their own invisible ropes and pulleys.

After climbing out of bed, he discovered himself placing one foot in front of the other in little repetitive motions people commonly call steps.

"So," he said to himself, "I must be a human being now."

Why not an orangutan? or a grape?

This seemed very odd.

He made his way through crowded streets and sinuous underground malls. He entertained questions that he kept to himself because, fundamentally, they were ridiculous. Questions like: "Why am I just the same one person? Why not many people all at once?" Or, "Why do people go into restaurant washrooms and always manage to come back out again?" Or, further to the point, "Why do they all keep moving? Why don't they just black out, and collapse in the street?" (With this: a steady rain of bodies and briefcases thudding.)

Rather than content himself with answers to these questions, he began to write these lines . . .

Guatemala & Other Poems


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