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Before Going to a Party You Will Not Be Attending


by P.R. Mercado


I planned to wear this shirt,
blue, black, and white stripes,
collar and pocket, 

that my philosophy professor,
while I applied for a job
as a research assistant,
said made me look rich.

“I'm not rich,” I said. 

She was skeptical
beyond the Socratic sense. 

I saw my reflection
on the television
as a Chinese man taught viewers
how to grill pineapples.

I do not fit in it anymore.
I stretch it. Still no.

After you came to visit, my father said:
“I wish you looked like your friend.”
He flexed his arm. A sixty-year-old man 
who tries to avoid death with desperation.

My body is stubbornly Euclidean.
Its inside is just as big as its outside.
I am filled with all kinds of junk.
I have a tendency to touch things
with my mouth first of all.

I've seen people whose dimensions
depict an inside that does not exist.

I am wearing the shirt anyway.

It won't make any difference.
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