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Harry's Circumcision - Reverie Gone Astray

Lou Reed

Magic and Loss


Looking in the mirror
Harry didn't like what he saw
The cheeks of his mother,
the eyes of his father
As each day crashed around him
the future stood revealed
He was turning into his parents
The final disappointment

Stepping out of the shower
Harry stared at himself
His hairline receding the slight overbite
He picked up the razor to begin
his shaving and thought
- Oh, I wish I was different

I wish I was stronger
I wish I was thinner
I wish I didn't have this nose
These ears that stick out
remind me of my father
and I don't want to be reminded at all
The final disappointment

Harry looked in the mirror
thinking of Vincent van Gogh
and with a quick swipe lopped off his nose
And happy with that he made a
slice where his chin was
He'd always wanted a dimple
The end of all illusion
Then peering down straight
between his legs
Harry thought of the range of possibilities
A new face, a new life,
no memories of the past
and slit his throat from ear to ear

Harry woke up with a cough
the stitches made him wince
A doctor smiled at him
from somewhere across the room
Son, we saved your life
but you'll never look the same
And when he heard that
Harry had to laugh
And when he heard that
Harry had to laugh
Although it hurt Harry had to laugh
The final disappointment

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