The place the gaze lands
is in one’s control
as is learning everything
about this here and that
So is what goes into the mouth
what comes out,
the tenor, the grip, the sharpness
of the blade
with which truth is pared.
onto knees. The plea
The bedtime. The book.
The lyrics and even the tune.
and the flavor of silence.
What is given
away, what is squandered on trinkets,
what is stashed
in the cellar
But not what was buried there before,
that is not within one’s control.
Neither the place where the gaze begins
nor the native tongue. Not what is offered
up, how much, and by whom.
Not what goes into his mouth
nor what comes out. Not the shot fired,
its teeth and velocity.
Not geometry. Not ancestry.
Not gravity or the callous arc of cosmic debris.
Not sleep or dreams, the weight of the day,
the insistence of hunger, the volume
of the neighbors. Not the child’s preference
for something entirely different or the echo
of aching for something
entirely gone. The imbalance of desire.
Not the first frost.
Not the one who arrives
or the one who won’t go. Not the departure
Not secret worlds.
Not the keeping
or the end of needing