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Reading Ovid at the Plastic Surgeon’s

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I scarcely dared to look
to see what it was I was.

No one else with a book, the slick
weeklies gossip amongst

themselves on the side
tables as the ticker rolls the Dow

Jones down down down under
a profile of the marathon

bombers (the older, a boxer). Jove
argues for the removal of a race

of   peoples that do not please
him: What is past

remedy calls for the surgeon’s
knife. They will take a hunk of my

cheek (cancer) & though I can’t
see during the procedure, I imagine

the site as an apricot, bitten.
This is a survival mechanism —

romanticism. David says,
If you’re out

in public & you don’t want anyone
to talk to you, bring a book

of poetry. Even as I enter the confidence
of   the room, I avoid my reflection

in the window, for there, most
of all, I see myself as only I can,

as only the eye will have me —
as light, as light alone.

Source: Poetry (December 2013)

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This poem originally appeared in the December 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

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Reading Ovid at the Plastic Surgeon’s

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