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Love song as a cryptozoology photo


I once spent five years writing

about a fox to figure out what kind

of man I am. Among the creatures


of Tompkins Square, it is clear

I am not a man at all, but a series

of shapes. It’s an illness, I am told,

this irresolute desire, these hands


that fall through whatever they touch.

The feeling of loss is amphetamine.

I am always looking to synthesize


my failures. Behold my jaunty hat

which jingles as I cry. Behold the pentagram

freshly carved into my scalp. I speak

all of the languages of tenderness,


including those that require a frying pan

struck quickly to the face, including the one

where I torch my father’s house while he sleeps,

 including the apocryphal dialect where I am dressed


as a lobster and then boiled. Sometimes

trauma is a prerequisite for softness.

It depends on where you’re from,


and who you ask, but you should always ask.

The child shouts at me, “scatter squirrel,”

even though I am not a squirrel,

even though the squirrel is directly next to me


I know he is talking to me. He will not drink

from the fountain until I am gone,

but the fountain is dry so I remain.


This is how I justify my presence

by only ever having a modicum

of information and then squandering it.

My body is much too magnanimous,


how it rises every day, how it knows

when to rest, even when I tell it not to.

How dependably I salivate


so that even when the fountain is dry

I can always drink from myself. 

Maybe I am the squirrel after all.



image: Aaron Burch