Voyeur

Maybe if I did the opposite
it would yield a better result,
I remember thinking to myself
back when my best thinking

was getting me in a lot of trouble,
and my best brushing
was getting me a lot of cavities.
Just do the opposite

of whatever it occurs to you to do
in any given situation. This seemed
a good strategy, especially to one
who always seemed to be getting it

wrong. So instead of brushing my teeth
I ate a candy bar every night
before going to bed, and another one
every morning before going to school.

“What’s taking you so long?”
my mother asked outside the bathroom,
because it takes longer to eat a candy bar
than to brush your teeth. I’ll bet you didn’t

know that. There are lots of things
you learn by doing the opposite.
Instead of studying for your science test
(which only ever got you C’s and D’s)

you can look out your bedroom window
with the lights turned off, and see
into your neighbor’s bedroom in the house
opposite yours, and without her seeing you.

And you learn a thing or two about light and darkness,
and girls’ underwear and what lies under them.
Doing the opposite was really paying off,
until I got the abscess, and the F in science class.

And then my parents got that phone call
from the neighbors, accusing me of something
that sounded kind of French. Which is how
I learned a new word from doing it.

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