Brian Walters

I say my friend and mean myself

The same as he says somebody

Means anyone else, like everyone’s the same

I guess, some word game or inscrutable puzzle.

I find myself saying parallax

These days and don’t know why.

I say parallax all the time. I write it secret

Love notes on the weekends

I wrap in tin-foil hearts and tape

To valentine chocolates, though I’m sure

I don’t know what parallax even means.

I dream parallax dreams and count parallax

Sheep before I go to bed each night.

They fade in and out, Lucretius says,

Like sleep on parallax hillsides.

OK—he doesn’t say exactly that,

But means it if you read between the lines,

Like, sweet parallax, I mean it too.

For you I paint the whole scene underwater

And count to ten. You know the trick

Below water’s surface sunlight bends

And I wake literally beside myself.

Or so I say, but who knows really

Who I’m next to each morning.

And that, you see, is the problem.

It’s just like that old joke: A pair a’ lax

Girls walk into a bar with a box of chocolates

Under their arms covered in tin-foil hearts

And the bartender says something

But I’m way too drunk to care.

OK—so that’s not exactly the joke.

But still it’s funny the way sex is always

Parallax masturbation. Or the way they play me

All night for drinks. And I confuse the two

For one and think they’re the same girl.

Some parallax reflection’s shadow.

I think they’re the same girl as me.


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