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September 18, 2014 Poetry

Garnish and All

Sara Gelston

Garnish and All photo

Liking the world is not easy, though sometimes it is
a large wave that carries you. Try saying no to a hand
while hanging from a cliff. A Tuesday evening.
A great phenomenon. Some days the light that breaks
is an inward light. Most days I do not believe in much
so I cover my bases: Shiva, grass, Allah, the Mother Goddess,
Zeus, the beautiful rug beneath my friend’s dining table,
Freyja, the holy trinity, Yahweh, the man repeating numbers
outside the Country Pantry on Springfield. It makes sense.
Who, after all, doesn’t understand waves? Who doesn’t
recognize this gift: one day, warmth. One day, I opened
my door to find you on a platter. Garnish and all.
I wanted to speak. Didn’t. Didn’t believe I had the right.
I watched the wave retreat. I checked the windows to confirm
no one could see me smile. We were safe. Liked the cliff
out one door, field out another. The field opened to the back
of someone’s home. The home did not open. I have never
understood the locked door as an act, the summer home shuttered.
Take everything you can fit in your arms, I say to a stranger.
What right have I? Which god do we say is the permission giver?
No one mentions disbelief as a way to solve the world’s problems.
Love more, people say, though what they often mean is
guard what is yours with your life. Yes, I asked for this. No, I did not
believe it would be delivered. Inward light, confirm: we are allowed
to lie to ourselves but not to the ones we adore. Lie with or lie
like a starfish once they’ve left to use the bathroom. Thank you
Zeus. Mother Goddess. This bed is warmth.  It was all I asked for.
Each Tuesday evening a great phenomenon. An offered hand
is not always there to take, though sometimes it is. Who cares
who sees me smile. For so long I have been speaking to myself
only to fill a room. I have lost my cliff. My care. I am toasting platter
upon platter of divine goods. Take this. You deserve it. This house
of ours in the field. This door without a lock. I am waiting
inside, splayed as a starfish. I am watching you move. Amen.

image: Tara Wray