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Eric Dovigi

Updated: May 15


What am I doing with my life? Why has my left ear been hurting? How do I tell Ahmed that he is getting a C in our class because he never turned in his Rhetorical Analysis and I never got around to pestering him about it? Is it my fault? Or his fault? How many times is it healthy to check your email in an hour? Should I clean my living room window? Or will that lead to more deaths of birds? When I swept the robin off the porch, its head lolled over its breast as if it found the whole thing pretty funny. I didn’t find it funny.

A bird’s neck dances.

So do these pollen kernels,

Across the window.

How am I? Had I even thought about this before you asked me? What do you care? Do you think Ahmed isn’t emailing me back because he’s really mad at me and struggling to express it? What time is it in Kuwait? Will I have to do paperwork? Will I be shamed about it? Does this factor into my manner of being (which is what you’re asking me about, after all, my manner of being—)? Should I go outside? Should I be spending more time outside? Should I visit my parents? Is it safe? Are they old? Am I old? I’m old. When I play opera at home no one wants to talk with me about it. I wish I had opera friends.

There are no clouds.

Shirtless, I sing Verdi badly.

A window closes.

How am I? Do you really want to know? How badly do you want to know? Do you want to know so badly you’ve stopped for a minute thinking about how ​you a​re? Do you see yourself in me as surely as I see myself in you? Are you willing to listen to Verdi’s ​Falstaff ​all the way through? Why has your left ear been hurting? Do you think you can get through the whole thing? Have you checked your email lately? Everything’s fine in there. You can leave it. The world’s whisper, that soft song like the cat’s self-soothing purr, will remain with you as you sing Verdi shirtless in the yard. Lots of people stay home. Basho stayed home, (until he had to go).

Three tall onion shoots Are less weary than they seem.

The compost ants laugh.


In his first battle, Count Nikolai Rostov sees the French soldiers rush forward and thinks, “Can they be coming at me? And why? To kill me? ​Me​ of whom everyone is so fond?” This is how I am.

As guileless as a

Sky with no clouds, I await

What I cannot flee.

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