Secret Identities



Over and over I dream I am the one who sets you free:


the lab assistant who throws the gate release switch,

the waitress who sneaks you out through the kitchen,

the roadhouse singer with the cracked porcelain voice

hollering the blues as you brood at the bar,


the shy librarian, the chatty mortician,

the archaeologist of your mysterious past,


the guard squinting over his clipboard,

hey, there’s no Doctor Hugh Jass here,

as you knock him down and steal his uniform,


the hot dog vendor reading War and Peace,

the charming alcoholic soccer mom,

the gay neighbor, the friend with the hair,

the guy who says

good luck with that,

I’ll have what she’s having,

have you considered a career in politics?


the girl across the hall who talks to her fish

and plays the violin so sweet it makes you weep


for the dog walker, the rose gardener,

the toll booth operator,


the pretty nurse leaning over the gurney.

That’s the one, she says as the surgeons fight for your life,

that’s the one who’s gonna make me live forever.