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