How do you begin approaching the subject
with your father? A man
who has such high hopes for you,
the idea of a son
dear to him. You are a math problem
he is working out on paper:
you’ll play football (tight end),
go to his alma mater (he’s sent for the application),
do what he’s never dared —
become a writer (you’ve written
a few poems). You’ve practiced the speech.
What do you mean? your father will ask.
I don’t want you to be ashamed to tell me anything.
You don’t realize you’ve knocked
till a voice answers,
How can I help you, Son?
What father, no matter how understanding,
looks forward to his child’s
coming to him and saying, Sorry, Dad,
for interrupting your work
but I think I’m . . .
What language do you use
when you want nothing more
than not to want
what you want? Imagine a candle
inside your mind. You try to
blow it out,
rub it out, blot it, smother it, extinguish it
forever. But no matter what you do
it goes on burning
even purely
in its stubbornness. It casts shadows
that turn even the most common room mysterious.
It lets you see
where no sight seems possible.