Before You Read My Work
Before you read, you’ll need my eyes. Place yours aside and
stick mine in your sockets. Give them a moment to
adjust to your head (it’s almost certainly smaller than mine).
Let them focus. They take longer than most.
And sorry about muddy-black specks
that float around my corneas. They’re important, too.
Lift my glasses off my eyeless head—
I won’t need them for now—
and place them on my eyes,
which currently rest in your head.
Don’t clean the smudges. I rarely do.
You need the sharp pain in my left ankle,
the one that runs rhythmic laps around my leg
after the second or third cup of coffee.
My knees are also a must—take each calloused cap,
containing extra cartilage from
kneeling on grocery-store floors at my first job.
Peel the birthmark off my right elbow like a gold-star sticker—you need that too.
Finally, grip my hand hard and pop off my fingertips—paste them on top of your own.
Now, the necessities are met.
But before you recline and begin
this monstrous process of reading,
Please guide my eyeless body to the nearest armchair—
mind its lack of kneecaps.
Pour it a cup of coffee,
whisper some words of encouragement.
He’s never quite gotten used to this.