This Is Not My Homework

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Sometimes

I’m too busy being self-conscious beneath the shadow of the cloud of my hair

That I forget to open the window and let the real sun in

Too busy hiding behind my glasses

To use my peripheral vision

Too self-conscious about my apple cheeks

To use the voice that they hold to field an opinion.

.

.

Sometimes

I’m too busy treating uncertainty as ominous

Paralyzed like the deer that fleck the lawns of my childhood

To fill brown boxes cream margins white pages

With things as nuanced as the fingerprints that smudge my phone

That I shoved in the back of a drawer so I could “focus more”

.

.

Sometimes

I need a forest, a basement, an alley, a dirt path

I need to stop connecting false dots that fade like summer freckles on pale skin

I need a notepad and a blue pen and a used book with the binding already creased

I need an afternoon with a watch and a key and no backpack or phone to just go

and to smell and see and spend zero dollars and not hand anything in or “get anything done”

except maybe the laundry, later, which I will pour out on the floor and lie on like The Flannel King

.

.

Sometimes I need to remember that this is not my homework

and I am not my homework

and life is not my homework.

I create my work and I shape every phrase, sharp or soft, that leaves my lips

Changing my expression, I form the ambiance surrounding my face

.

.

I can stick my feet in different shoes,

But after too long, they hurt in anything but the running shoes and sandals that raised them

I like to feel small in the city

But need to feel small by the lake, mirroring the sky

As if by floating I can create a tiny false horizon

Or maybe a tiny real horizon, I don’t know

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