Tonight, just before tucking myself in,
I pulled out a small cardboard box
of pictures I keep hidden beneath my bed.
Filing through the glossy smiles and
candid camera clicks, I saw myself as
a young man, much younger than today.
I recognized most of them as I recognized
the people that surrounded them: a name ,
an idiosyncrasy, an anecdotal story or two.
It made me wonder if our lives are
wooden blocks, on stacking one the other, or
if we are paintings, each separate but viewed in a gallery.
And if we are paintings, on what
uneasy easel am I now perched
and what force would it take to rock
myself off this stand, to fall and lie
face up to the wall-covered world,
me at age five making turkeys out of my stenciled hand,
me at age twelve eating warm grapes in a school cafeteria,
me at age twenty-nine, immovable on a color-clad gallery floor.