You didn’t understand:
I wanted freedom; well didn’t I have it?
You demanded to know: Why all this beating of wings?
Not in words, but the way
you stared at the floor
and nestled the cat to show
that you were capable of affection
but withheld it from me.
To you this was a question of loyalty.
Meanwhile, I was trapped in the slow-clicking memory
of my childhood, like an old video tape:
the tick of a clock, the sound of late afternoon.
At this time of year, there is no sunset,
just the deep carve of light that slowly melts away.
I told you I was leaving, which was easier
than allowing you to love me.
At first, it felt as if the sky
had been ripped off the earth, but then
I finally sensed my own existence and I was ravenous
for the world, driven outward like a bursting sap.
For weeks, I opened all the windows before I went to bed.
How glorious: the fragments of moon,
blue air and honey sun.
All that light on my face in the morning.
When the summer edged out, I shut the windows
and left. The drive was long and the sky
was filled with rain like thick strokes of ink
I hurried down the freeway,
as if someone would be there
waiting for me. And the next thing I knew:
Wisconsin. I dashed from the car,
pretending to run for cover, but secretly
praying for more and more rain.
I knew you would want
to talk about Kant or Descartes
or Hume again, how can I
compete with them?
And this time
it's free will; you tell me
Physics doesn't leave
much room for choice--what if
everything has already been laid out?
I reach for a pastry,
taking the beignet
gently in my fingers, letting the sugar glaze
melt a little in the morning sun.
You lean back
on your elbows and ask
me or the sky, what if it's all
I polish off
the doughnut, licking
my fingers clean then rolling
up the cuffs of my jeans
That's called determinism, I say
and it haunts me.
You pause on that,
is there any other way?
Then you take my ankles
and swing my legs into your lap.
I lay back, shoulder blades
pressed flat into the grass
beneath the devstating canopy of clouds
and think about agency and freedom:
Chaos, I say
as if it's half a question. Spontaneity,
as if it's something
that I want very much
but am afraid to afraid to ask for.
You're holding my small pink feet
in your hands, everything about you,
Which is worse?
Before I think too hard about it, I hear myself
answer: I don't care
as long as there is God.
What I mean
is I want both
freedom and meaning--
that's what we all want
The things we can't ever seem
to get our hands on.