Library_Lamont_Poet_Stephen_Dunn_-_LargeIt sounds bad, you playing husband,
playing father, you playing the man
who starts to believe

the words on his business card,
putting on your suit in the morning
the way knights once put on their armor,

all day carrying a heaviness
that at first gets you down, yet soon
begins to feel normal, a chosen

weight, your very own masquerade.
It sounds bad, but you’ve tried hard
to successfully impersonate that man.

You’ve wanted act to become habit,
love replicated to be a definition of love,
though in fact you’ve been an impostor

of an impostor, often able to manufacture
authenticity when you’ve needed to,
then observing its effect. But consider

what used to sound good—someone
earnestly trying to be himself,
as if being oneself couldn’t be hideous,

you and people you’ve known:
pigs in the slop, men in the throes
of discovering the joy in their malice.

Stephen Dunn