In a college dorm, in a prison, in a marriage
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I was reading a poem by Ryōkan about a leaf, and how it showed the front and the back as it fell, and I wanted to call someone — my wife, my brother — to tell about the poem.
And I thought that maybe my telling about the poem was the front of the leaf and my silence about the poem was the back.
And then I thought that maybe my telling and my silence together were honestly just the front of the leaf, and that the back was something else, something I didn’t understand.
And then I thought that maybe everything I understood and everything I didn’t were both actually just the front of the leaf — so that the totality of my life was actually just the front of the leaf, just the one side — which would make the other side my death. . . .
Unless my life and death together were really still only the front of the leaf?
I had left the branch. I was falling.
I was loose now in the bright autumn air.