Self-Portrait in Which I Resemble the Man Next to Me

Justin Boening


When nobody's
                           watching, I lose

my lisp, open my mouth,

put my teeth back

                               in like an engine
in the night.

This is new to me:

                                             the knife
north on my tongue,

rolled scarf
                    in my mouth, wearing nothing
like a hat. To save

myself, I'll have

                                               to remove
myself. Could you hold this

for me, this book,

in winters. In winters,

I'll write you letters,
                                    not say a thing
until I'm certain.

In summers I'll burn
                                        my mouth,
the roof of it, on its pages.

My voice is waking
                                   me. I want it
to wake me again.