Palimpsest by Michael Salcman

The old man in the mirror,
with the face of an artichoke,
spies on me with eighteen-year old eyes.

I watch him unwrap his white doctor’s coat
only to reveal a smock
covered in brushstrokes, its pockets burdened
with crumpled notes
written to himself in disguise.

Perhaps he wonders what people will say
after we’ve died, all these unreliable lives
fleeing a single body.

We shared a triune brain—
though the soul admits of no separation
by functional MRI—our Pleistocene mind
and the oldest urges combined
in a concatenation of art and love and sex;
perhaps they’ll notice how we tried.

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