A Wholly Unprecendented Wound
I said to Barry Waldbaum in the Teacher’s Center,
“One of my students asked me, ‘What’s a hermaphrodite? ’”
“That some kinda mollusk, Bernstein? ” he said,
“cause I think I seen that creature on NATURE.”
“Got both male and female sex organs.”
“I was born with four toes.”
“I never knew. Which foot? ”
“Left. A missing little thing like that
and my father was against me from the start.
First time I went to the beach
a crowd of people hovered around me.
Well, when my father seen that
he right away started charging a nickel
for a look and for a dame
you could play ‘This little Piggy
went to market’
with them four toes.
This one guy wanted to rent me
for his daughter’s birthday party.
‘Five dollars, ’ my father says.
‘All the cake the kid can eat, ’ he shot back.
‘That’s for him—what about me? ’
says the old man.
From then on I never took off my socks
always wore ‘em, both
cause if I only had the left sock
people would think
there was something funny.
Two socks never drew no attention,
even in the shower when I was in high school
I told the guys I didn’t wanna catch no fungus.
They believed me.
Julius Szollosy and Arnold Tranen did the same,
thought it was a good idea.”
“Your wife? ” I asked.
“How you mean, Bernstein? ”
“When you’re...intimate, socks on or off? ”
“On. After so many years
she got use to it
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