Saturday, June 1, 2019



3:00 a.m. Back

from the bathroom,

I've lain awake

for an hour. I

was all right at

2:00, most of me's

still O.K. My feet

are down at the end

of the bed, they and

my head and testicles

still seem to be

the right size. But

my hands, clamped

shut like a baby's

fist, are big as

a catcher's mitt,

each thumb's as big

as a fat man's leg.

I can't get any

sound up from my

throat. I grab

for breath, trying

to cry out.


she has been dead

for half my life,

my mother — all

her illnesses

still intact — leans

her softness

over my crib,

and tries with-

out words to

hold me. She

tries and tries

to hold me.


Philip Booth
Penguin, 1994