Me, Myself, No Other

By | 1 July 1997

It’s me, myself, no other who’s lying
on this filthy mattress in this hospital
corridor, cloudsick, humiliated
by their procedures, by the samples
that they’ve taken.
&, yes,
it’s me, myself, no other who has
but one intention: to make it perfectly clear
that my most ardent wish is to leave as I came –
on my hands and knees, crawling.
&, yes,
it’s yours truly, this humble petitioner
that you see before you who will crawl,
naked, to each in turn, to each
of the mothers, to submit
to their wrath.
& myself, no
other who will present you, made
with my own hands, of my hair, of dirt
from under my nails, an effigy of myself
to do with as you will.
& myself, no
other, who’s stripped to the waist
in this dim hole, who for twelve hours each night
shovels coal into a boiler – steam
for an engine that must be, can only be
an engine of war
&, yes, it’s
me, no other, who, entering a room
that I thought was empty, finds it full
of steamer trunks & in each, as I lift
its lid, the evidence of a failed migration –
a blue snake, hibernating, oblivious
to the intoxication of my flute.
& me,
alone, hugging myself, who’s crooning
a lullaby as the ox is dismissed, as it sinks
into mist – the ox painted blue
that brought me here cradled
in its horns.
& myself, no
other who, coming amongst strangers,
can understand their language as if
it was my own, their discourse
of dead horses, of empire, of excrement
& tedium.
& myself, yours
truly, no other, who, at the end
of a long journey, was given a tent
in this camp of cowards, who tonight
around a fire as we warm ourselves, in
gratitude, in terror, will place on the lips
of each of my comrades a kiss
of betrayal.

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