By Michael Ryan b. 1946 Michael Ryan
When did I learn the word “I”?
What a mistake. For some,
     it may be a placeholder,
     for me it’s a contagion.
For some, it’s a thin line, a bare wisp,
     just enough to be somewhere
     among the gorgeous troublesome you’s.
For me, it’s a thorn, a spike, its slimness
     a deceit, camouflaged like a stick insect:
     touch it and it becomes what it is:
ravenous slit, vertical cut, little boy
     standing upright in his white
     communion suit and black secret.

Source: Poetry (July/August 2013).


This poem originally appeared in the July/August 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

July/August 2013
 Michael  Ryan


Poet and memoirist Michael Ryan was born in St Louis, Missouri. He studied at the University of Notre Dame and Claremont Graduate School, and earned an MFA and PhD from the University of Iowa. Ryan’s first volume, Threats Instead of Trees (1974), won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. His second collection, In Winter (1981), was selected by Louise Glück for the National Poetry Series. God Hunger (1989) won the Lenore . . .

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SUBJECT Living, The Mind, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

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