The self is a thousand localities
            like a small nation—assembly required: borders and roads;

armies; farms; small and large pieces of parchment. I stand by
            all the territories I have ever been, even as I can’t

remember them. I am a locum—ear to the emperor penguin, a banner ad
            blinking to the hoi polloi. Since I’ve become John Doe, I swear

I can feel most objects with sixty digits
            instead of five. This makes me think

of my wife. Makes me miss her left collar bone. Her hips’ wingtips.
            A train moans from a far hummock.

Which reminds me that everyone I have to live without
            I must help to find a place within. Which is an act

of granite will. A strain. A ditty.
            An exercise in utmost beautility.

From American Amnesiac (Etruscan Press, 2013). Copyright © 2013 by Diane Raptosh. Used with the permission of the author.