i do say, “i felt like i needed to come here.”
her earth-colored eyes laugh at me gently.
she is magnificently settled into herself and I
in my twenty years of life have come to save her.
“what is america like?”
the children all want to know that.
they want to come, and also want gifts.
not like this, though a little like this. i say,
“not beautiful like this.”
i do not say why, that is here you are born and you die
in the same 50 acre circle,
and I am not yet old enough to know to be jealous of you.
I am not yet wise enough to envy your steadfastness.
i do not say that, thinking that wings were made for flying,
i constructed my own. gluttonous for landscapes and languages
not my own, i sit and devour your lives
talita, she laughs quietly. she has no need to step one foot
outside of her village border. and she, she is wiser than me.
Adam Phillips, a British psychoanalyst, wrote a brief, compelling book called Darwin’s Worms, in which he talks about a common contemporary phenomenon wherein people who have lost faith in permanent things come to place in loss itself. It amounts to a secular, ascetic sort of religion, he says, and involves not so much an absence of commitment as a fierce commitment to absence. -Christian Wiman