There is that in me which persistently speaks,
remarking, “Thou art not altogether human.”
I’m not sure why
it delivers this enigma clothed in old British
high fashion and high mind, but as I walk (or
gangle, really, though gangle’s not a word
in the Oxford dictionary) down the lower end
of Fifth Avenue (which, I’ve heard, is
famous for its famousness, but, too, I’ve heard
the silence of its slick streets in the night-time
and wanted to sing the rain), two bags
dragging on my hands like needy ankle-biters, it seems
not wholly indefensible. Perhaps
I have too many limbs; an extra eye, inverted;
little hearts hiding in my thumbs, my bellybutton
(sometimes I could swear I’d feel them too).
Would that be so bad? And I wonder
whether the hunchbacked, homeless song of hope
that’s walking through the subway car is human too,
or human otherwise, since the premise is
that habit is truth, and that that in me which persists
persistently is never new.
I wipe the sweat off my neck and hum three notes
of the orchestra’s haphazard tuning in my head.
Yes, a strangeness seems to find me, forcing a way
to surround me, not uncomfortably; it is
persistent. I wonder if the sitting man beside me
feels it, too.