Spring 2012 • Vol. XXXIV No. 2 PoetryApril 1, 2012 |

Campus Vagrant

"I no longer privilege myself," he says, then makes his hand into a blade, a chest-high single half a prayer with my dollar he didn't ask for slotted between his thumb and forefinger as if in the cockpit of a rocket that suddenly thrusts above his head and snaps back to his chest, a blade again he playfully jabs at me and folds into his pocket, from which it emerges as his empty hand— this sequence performed with practiced quickness. "Did you stab me?" I ask. "Am I dead?" "I stabbed you alive," he replies merrily, his face lit up red as his Angels cap with the halo at the apex of the A. "Do you play for the Angels?" I once asked him. "I play with the angels," he answered angrily, and flicked my dollar crumpled back at me. "Don't patronize me. I'm not crazy," he said. I stick to our script strictly now, although there's more I'd like to ask him. I don't know how to "no longer privilege myself," if that means waking to egoless consciousness in which fear and g

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Michael Ryan is director of the MFA Program in Poetry at the University of California–Irvine. His books have won the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, among many other awards. His new book of poems, This Morning, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in March.

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