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Excerpt: 'Master of Disguises'

Master of Disguises

Master of Disguises

Surely he walks among us unrecognized:
Some barber, store clerk, delivery man,
Pharmacist, hairdresser, bodybuilder,
Exotic dancer, gem cutter, dog walker,
The blind beggar singing, Oh Lord, remember me,

Some window decorator starting a fake fire
In a fake fireplace while mother and father watch
From the couch with their frozen smiles
As the street empties and the time comes
For the undertaker and the last waiter to head home.

O homeless old man, standing in a doorway
With your face half hidden,
I wouldn't even rule out the black cat crossing the street,
The bare light bulb swinging on a wire
In a subway tunnel as the train comes to a stop.

Excerpted from Master of Disguises by Charles Simic Copyright 2010 by Charles Simic. Excerpted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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Charles Simic