The dentist says there’s no reason
to replace the tooth I lost.
My skin tone fades and fades to match my hair.
I grow down the doorframe—shorter
and shorter until I’m not seen. Passersby greet my dog
as if it were alone. Next in line, I watch
the bank teller ask who’s next.
Someone bumps me and says, Sorry, I didn’t see you.
Another shudders past like he’s hit a patch of cold air.
On the plus side, eavesdropping’s easy.
And nobody asks me to help lift anything.
I’m never singled out as a person of interest.
Animals pay me no mind. I nearly touched a deer
before it noticed. A Great Horned Owl
didn’t budge as I stepped closer.
Face to face, I saw that it was scanning
the meadow behind me.
Black bears brush by me like sleepwalkers
on their way to the feeders in my back yard.
The spooked birds fly right through me.
—From the poet’s forthcoming collection, Horse Not Zebra
poems have appeared in many print and online venues, including The Sun, Poetry, The Oxford American, Poetry Daily, and Verse Daily. The most recent of his six poetry collections, Some Wonder, was published by Gival Press in 2015. His new collection, Horse Not Zebra, will be published in 2022. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina.