The students glisten with youth. Every one of them is beautiful.
The world has yet to enter them and breathe away their souls.
I want to be like the children, but I am dirt and clay.
I woke one day and told myself, Stand up and walk like a man!
I raised my dust up out of bed and looked into the mirror
but couldn’t read the word written by my forehead lines.
I keep a piece of paper under my tongue and on it one word: be.
So I write my way into my life, trying to name it as it leaves
and walk this clay around, a thing empty of belief.
My body’s covered with hair, just like a human being,
but my hands are sticks, my brain’s in rags. These days
I feel the hand of death on my forehead and it feels like a relief.
“The Golem of Los Angeles” (Red Hen Press, 2008).