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And who looks like his passport photo,
may I ask? The man often lost his cool
at immigration counters and customs
and wherever documents met metaphors
of the frailty of life. Look carefully,
officer, behold what a little less beard
has done for youthfulness overflowing
from a face no torment could mar?

Yes, I see, officer, you too are a pensive man,
furrowed brow, dimming eyes, the waste
of it all scooping into a tremble only you
can sense long before others will stare away
at empty space or idiotic signs so as not
to be detectively rude. The great appetite is always

hungry for us who meal away on wilting trays
called lines, at banks, theaters, or here, officer.
This too is a way to ascertain how little it matters
that one looks the part or parts one’s hair
differently. I am the camouflage, maestro
of the badged entreaty. I am the one
trying to get away with murder, my own.

The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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