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  You could have a big dipper   

Sartre on a shingle by Lane Chasek

You don’t feel different or think of yourself

as an Other until you rush outside and realize

that the screaming you heard next door

was really a case of wild laughter—

your neighbors staining their teeth with red wine

and dirty jokes while you’re left holding

the burden of misunderstanding.

Sometimes voices, like faces,

can be hard to read.

Once, in a philosophy class, I wrote Sartre on a shingle

in my notes and laughed aloud without realizing it—

and the professor laughed too when she

came by my desk and read what I’d written.

It was funny until it wasn’t, after the two of us saw

all those undergraduate eyes staring us down,

and we were suddenly so Other to the world.


Lane Chasek (he/him) is the author of the nonfiction novel Hugo Ball and the Fate of the Universe and the poetry collection A Cat is not a Dog. Lane is the founding editor of Warp 10 Lit and is an editor at Jokes Literary Review. Twitter: @LChasek

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