We must set this story straight.
We must say there is another angle
to this foreign particle
lodged in my ribs like a small ivory
tiger or a Chinese lamp, the oil
coating my bones. Theseus,
you know you didn’t break me.
I was the one who came to you
with a magnifying glass,
needing my Oxford credits
for the University of Someone Wants Me:
my gold-sealed social stigma.
I made my own marks. & everyone
should know it—I have an A+
in the humours of you. I was
an Edison bulb in a child’s bedchamber,
a Spanish fan flirting with fire,
smoking as pity turned to shock
at mediocre parties where conversations
are weak with the ordinary.
My outfit betrayed me—you wept
right through my clinical gloves
like a little boy
with a bad heart & a mean streak.
I monitored your ailments, but my logic
was circular: What is man? What is
man? What is this man doing here
with me? No bright conclusion.
I was bad at doctoring the truth.
I was in it for myself. & the skull
I carried in my hand in case
anyone took record? Still on my fingers.