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Painting by Barry Pomeroy
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Multiple Personality Disorder



I address all of you now, this strange family
that necessity has created
ripped by will and out of need
half-formed from a past darkness.

deliberate nemesis and stranger,
that behind his confusion
between the years flashing by
and a vision of distance,
walks as a tormented beast,
measures his days as with footsteps,
with never a word uttered to his face.

Or this half-born creature,
that exists only in one fixed dream-like stance,
crouches through that long night
and against its aching spine
a shiver of the prairie wind,
listening with animal ears
for footfall or crack of branch.

How many times in dream
and with fearful consequence
has he helped me to send that hatchet
to its frightful rest?

that white, wolf dog,
at once murdered and abandoned.
I again call you back from death
to wander massive and fierce
far below on the plain
leaving a recognizable print in the snow.
You I have used also,
your even gaze and unshakeable affection
not once turned to mistrust.

I can hear you speaking low amongst yourselves
and with eager mutter
self-transform from awful thought
heinous vision.

Can hear you argue and disagree
and with bitter and contemptuous voice
utter some harsh, misunderstood message.

I confess that in these open hands
could lie most foul murder,
however justified.
And I admit that it is with some fear
that I dare not send you to your end.

In silence and in awe you sit before this Figure
and from its inarticulate cry
formed by something less than a mouth
you learn some dreadful word or phrase.

And intruding upon this frightful scene
comes this laughing, superstitious soul
that chance and a moment's negligence
brought into this spectral family.
And him, with broad and general gesture
takes in all of you in a single offered greeting,
acknowledges the part you have played
in helping to preserve and build
this structure and familiar mind.

It is time now,
with this mixture of fear and self-hatred,
that you my still-born family
must complete this transformation
and help me beat and thrash my way
through this lorn and empty land
that is my home.

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