in this dream i rise from my seat
and become a professor, standing
at the front of the lecture hall.
i’m not speaking but looking
out at all the faces, and i think
one of them is my own.
i look at myself straight in the eye
for the first time in my life, and immediately
i want to look away.
i see what others see in me—my eyes
spilling fear, the scar on my left cheek,
rising and waning like a star.
i want to look away, and yet
to see myself
in truth, shrinking
in my seat, trying
so very hard to disappear.
i want to see my skin, how it is ruptured and alive–
my hands, the veined fabric, unraveling.
all my life i have only seen myself
behind the cloak of a mirror, and now,
to finally see myself,
to finally see yourself—
the words scribbled
on your lips, your mouth.
to know that this is not a dream
because you are really here, yes,
you are really alive.