BETA

Apparitions

By Joseph Valdez

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.

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