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July 20, 1969

Snail-track of jism? No, that was the moon
    silvering the tongue-and-groove of floor,
    my parents arguing outside on the stair,
the primal "We should get a divorce" scene

(sound up and over: from The Guiding Light).
    I slept. I woke. And there in the TV's
    old one-eye, pallid figures up to the knees
in last winter's wood ashes, utter night,

dark as whatever I could put my mind to,
    twinkling overhead, while Father Frost
    guarded the empty hearth and Madame Triste
slung firewater as she was wont to do,

their voices faint with joy or just with distance.
    And so from history I birthed myself,
    beyond the orbits of these two whom love
prevented from admitting my existence.

I crossed a threshold in my body somewhere,
    I felt it, and there was no going back.
    Lie still, I said, and coast the roaring dark.
Light fled in its frail line beneath the door.

This article originally ran in the November 5, 2008, issue of the magazine.