What if I knew, now standing,
         that I came crawling from
         the sea, rocks shifting, all around
         me the watery silken earth
         parting to give me pass?
         Could I have come crawling across
         deserts of generations
         before me, with the sun horribly
         itself? Come crawling, like
         a baby, all stumbly and drooled,
         an amphibian magically
         slipping its skin to reveal
         the softness of an ingénue? Would
         I have come forcefully
         heaving up my own breath
         to puncture the dark web of my throat?
         All for what, to come to speak
         these very words:
         “Dear Mother” and “Dear Father?”

         What could I do, now that I
         was falling from family grace,
         earth shifting down below
         me, and the paling shallow sky
         parting to give me pass?
         Should I have said something different,
         canceled my vague intentions
         before I spoke, listening to the
         gods above? Should I have
         tried flying just to escape the odd
         sensation of vertigo,
         dropping my head to conceal
         the eager tears of an innocent?
         What could I demonstrate
         of myself to the best
         of this world—a darkness that is
         not at all understandable?
         Walking towards death,
         falling, should I flail, holler?

         All credos turned out to be
         false. They moved away from
         the desert, turned back
         to the sea. They went retreating.
         Philosophy abandoned me,
         to regress and renurse at its
         mother’s tit, earth’s core.
         The rocks pounded and rolled
         on the seabed. When they finally
         slowed, the world’s first poet
         came rising. He looked away when
         he spoke—turned that salty, grave face
         away from God and from me, toward
         He said, When you are about to
         speak, when you are about to lie,
         do not let someone else
         speak the truth, which is that
         someone else always says it better.

         After a long wait I realized
         that I, too, was human. How else
         to explain the hunger I had,
         the sadness I know, and the silly
         darkness that awaits me? So, I
         practiced avoidance—panting
         and busy, I ran around the city
         shredding my hems. I met
         people untrained in me, took jobs.
         Some being inside me—mysterious and ghostly—
         kept me propped up. But a man
         without beliefs? Well I was getting
         worldly experience! I suffered
         the strain of internal pressures,
         albeit only from within—and who else
         could have told me what I was so
         desperate to know? But what
         struggles! What persistence! And still
         I kept calling, “Mommy, Daddy!”

         <      >