Being me is a kind of neurosis
but sometimes I have fun between crises.
As a kid, I once identified a copperhead
by looking it straight in the eye.
It really did have vertical pupils
like a cat’s. I yelled poisonous!
and the other girls and boys ran off.
In those days, I wasn’t very nearsighted
but I was very fond of cats.
Remembering my childhood
is like putting my hand down
the garbage disposal
and hoping no one will turn it on.
When I wasn’t
spreading butterflies, I played
undertaker with my cousins:
first makeup, then the footlocker.
Live burial, I found, was not for me.
Instead of birding, now I watch Navy jets.
The F16s always fly in pairs
as if they were scared or mating.
Will Mitchell ever call?
It’s been ten years . . .
I didn’t like being lost in the middle
of the night on a Jersey highway.
On my way to the bed and breakfast
I took every wrong exit. I thought
I was going to have to start
a completely new life.
I have an excellent homing device
for error. It’s only natural—
dark energy controls most of the world
and pulls me I-don’t-know-where
but not to dinner with Danny and Marge.
I wish I could remember your name
the way I remember every mean thing
anyone’s ever said to me.
Have you played Police Chase?
The one with the most felonies and damage
wins. When my client ordered
a fourth redirect of my direct-mail kit
for The Anti-Stress Handbook,
I said fuck you! and quit the project.
Then I had the whole afternoon
to weed my garden.
Catch Lynn Levin live in New York City this fall!
Bryant Park (behind the New York Public Library) in the Word for Word series (with Amir Or and Eduardo Corral), Tuesday, October 15, 2013, 7 PM.
Cornelia Street Cafe (with Odi Gonzales), 29 Cornelia St., New York, NY 10014 Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, 6:00 PM.