– C. Dale Young –
for Christopher Castellani
One version of me is at the hospital doctoring,
doctoring a patient’s inadequate insurance,
insurance forms designed to limit a person’s care.
Care is the last thing on the mind of another me,
me flirting with an older man in a Paris café.
The old stories say the cat has nine lives,
lives lived one after another one,
one through eight. And then the ninth comes,
comes quickly and, seemingly, without alarm.
Alarm is for humans, not for the cat.
One of me is re-reading poetry submissions,
submissions that quietly confound. So many poems,
poems in piles, the stacks of them there,
there where another version of me, hours ago, paced,
paced as he worked out a lecture on Conrad.
The Buddhist priest who knows he will be here,
here in this garden again as tree or small creature—
creature comforts unnecessary—never worries much,
much to other people’s chagrin, because worry is resistance.
Resistance is irrelevant to one who knows there is no end.
One of me spies on the 5-year-old model of himself fall,
fall over the retaining wall and gash his head on a shovel,
shovel left there by accident. Another me patiently studies,
studies the 14-year-old version crying about his wings,
wings erupting to full span reflected in the bathroom mirror.
Of course it would take a cylon to get it right.
Right from the start, human beings loved,
loved this world too much. People joke: “You are,
you are a machine!” as if it were a compliment.
Compliment or not, they have no idea just how right they are.