Issue 157, Winter 2000
We all have seen it.
In the slide show he gives each summer.
There he is! (or There you are!) someone will say
—when suddenly, among the Asmat of New Guinea,
a flash of pale male flesh,
wearing Toby's younger face
(and nothing else), appears.
Though he might seem out of place,
he shows no embarrassment—
he's only a rarity—a welcome anomaly
—among a tolerant contingent of the race.
So I'm glad to see once more
that he's doing all right there—
looking eager (though egregiously
white) for his rebirth ceremony—
crawling humbly and adroitly
(for a man of twenty-five)
beneath the legs of the whole village!
(It's no surprise that twenty-three tribes
But it's different at the pool an hour later
(an hour—and fifty years!)
—and now the others, who've arrived
after watching Toby's slides,
have slipped inside the pool house to strip.
But Toby, thin and a little bent,
still getting over the replacement of his hip,
is pacing the deck
in long black pants.