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This article is taken from PN Review 186, Volume 35 Number 4, March - April 2009.

Diary of a Satyr Stanley Moss

When I was a child, I moved my pillow to a different part of the bed each night because I liked the feeling of not knowing where I was when I woke up. From the beginning I yearned for the nomadic life. I wandered, grazed like a goat on a hill - the move from grazing to exploring was just a leap over a fence. In my seventh year, I had a revelation. A teacher asked me a question. I knew the answer. Miss Green, a horse-faced redhead, asked the 3A class of P.S. 99, Kew Gardens, Queens, a long way from Byzantium: ‘What are you going to do in life?’ Most of the answers remain a blur, but someone said she was going to be a novelist and someone said he’d write a play, or for the movies. I remember waiting; I was last to answer: ‘I am certain I am a poet.’ Then Miss Green said, ‘I knew it. You, Stanley, are a bronze satyr,’ and she whacked my erect penis with a twelve-inch Board of Education wooden ruler.

I ran home in a fury at my parents. They had never told me I was a satyr. My mother’s explanation, ‘You know what a hard time I had giving birth to you. Why do you think every time I hit you it hurts my hand? You had whooping cough the first six months of your life. The doctor said no human being could survive that. ...

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