Secret Identities


I carry a piece of mirror I stole
       from the hospital where I was born,
for the times I see the shadow of the hawk
       but not the hawk itself.
Therefore, my daily walks include
       the fetch staring back from the pond
who is more clank than chain,
       and the old woman who stares
from the bench: “Can you say my name?” Yes.
       Yes. You are Butter-Stained-Pockets-
        and the boy with the electronic boat,
well, him I don’t know, although
        I do know the man watching.
He is Threadbare-Hat-
but he used to be Dime-Store-Turtle-
which probably explains his watching the boy.
        That busy one with the leather striking,
that is Flame-Lick-Footfall, and the one
        with the face done up like candy
is Wrecking-Ball-Of-Joy. My daily walks include
a.k.a. Naked-Chicken-Rinsed-In-A-Sink,
        whose husband might be
        but who is more likely to be
simply Juan. My daily walks include
who is also Hanging-On-By-An-Eyelash,
        and Smiling-With-Tumescent-Secret-At-Stop-Light,
who is also Someone’s-Love-Zombie.
        “Logic is the process of pairing and distinguishing,”
I was told in college by Once Hair-Of-The-Dog-
        But-Now-Seriously-Sober, who also told me,
“It’s the little things you do that will keep you alive,”
        which is why my daily walks include
as much as they exclude
        the vibrating apologies on my cell phone
which are like the stories told by children,
        never-ending, circuitous,
with more of a theme than a point.



Luisa Villani