Saturday, January 15, 2011

They Will Take My Island

by David Seymour

I’ve grown obsessed with keeping things preserved,
folding bedsheets crisply as unread books, attending
churches built so sublimely Jesus would dismount
the cross and grab communion if he could. He believed
in eternity. If I shift my gaze with simplicity and without
aspiration to familiar souls and objects I can stare for
hours and none of them will change. That which moves
away from me isn’t necessarily afraid and that which
moves toward me is not always in love, I’ve learned
to say with a quieter honesty, surrounded as we are
by the cavalcade of powers and lights and agencies
some of which I’m for but also those of which
I am against, it being a happy coincidence I can be
both at once. Of happiness, I forget what I have done
and imagine other names for it. They have many
likenesses, are each alike, like most of what’s beyond
my grasp. They’re nameless as seconds. They’ve taken,
in their inane, fog-like disregard for details, the bulk
of what’s transpired. Once I could conjure, and no

They take it without prejudice. They’ve confiscated
my recklessness also, replaced it with refinement of taste.
They take their time. But they musn’t take
my island. Though I don’t live there anymore
it’s all I have left to remind myself. Of myself.
The weather today is exactly as I remember it
yesterday, and the week before. I’m convinced
that this is remarkable, that this light breeze is here
while the island remains, is theirs but wondrous,
because it is. It is a perfect day for a swim.