A toy lemur, crooked stripes. Its dog tag:
Beware of real live tiger and teeth.
A real live tiger and teeth
studying a human who bends into its face
to read the dog tag, which says,
Your father -- with tidier eyes,
fuller facial hair.
A wall sprinkled with buttons.
And your mother's phone voice --
each time you press a button.
Not your father at all. Instead, the lunch lady
who sneaks you extra turkey in a Ziploc bag.
You. Your fading freckle,
your misprinted birth certificate.
You, pressed to a stranger
and invisible. You, pressed to a stranger
That stranger's weak bed.
Your holy insomnia.
Not you. Instead, the slight
buzz of arm hairs after a gift
of I love you --
and all the inadequate years
before the next one.
The next one.