I Let it Stand

I Let it Stand

Poetry by Mark Halperin

The Escape


 Photography by Jeong Mee Yoon

Photography by Jeong Mee Yoon

Amused when she asks, is your wife Jewish? and,
because it’s easier, because I don’t
want to think, I answer yes. It’s the first time.
Later, a pushy man wants to know my
son’s birthday. Confused, I make him younger
and the shift of dates feels so natural

I let it stand. Then it’s happening with family
names, with where I work, how long, with
whom—minor changes in my vita, small alterations,
other lives, one variant for this person,
another for that, as though I were picking out
ballpoint pens or books, rummaging for

 Photography by Jeong Mee Yoon

Photography by Jeong Mee Yoon

keep-sakes to give away, a different self to
each, each time. Months pass before I
catch on too and admit I’ve done what I did out of
caution, an attempt to screen the self,
erase the scent, obscure the trail with a series
of dead-ends until no one could thread

a way ahead through those dense thickets back to
me, reeking of fear. what did I think I
had worth hiding and who was I trying to deceive?
Tell me: surrounded by those casual lies
fabricating with disarming aplomb, why didn’t I ask
whose escape I imagined I was fashioning?

 Photography by Jeong Mee Yoon

Photography by Jeong Mee Yoon


Photography by Jeong Mee Yoon