There's a premium on human space, but it's not well quantified. I'm a testament to that.

How many hamburgers can one cow produce?

How many will it want to?

I have eaten rich of flesh, gorged my gut to the brim with particles of being.

And perhaps I could braid my hair, paint my eyes, and adopt a cause

but there's an upwards limit to lettuce, too.

How many breaths have I rented—

pulled from the atmosphere and trapped in these skinbags of mine,

just for the sake of their sweetness?

I am a thief of air, a churlish hedonist, and even when I decompose I will pollute what little I can reach.

I am a taking thing.

A draining need.

For this, I am sorry.

There is some excuse to be rendered for the greatest of gods:

men who stride the earth planting miracles,

women who fire mortars with their deeds.

I hear the gunpowder thunder and think "their space was well priced."

Mine was not, and for this I am sorry.

I am troublesome and weak; a skein of yarn with the threads pulled all askew.

I have not even the intentions—like little red cords in my blood—to draw them straight.

Confidence is a dance, and I tread unsure the steps. For this I am sorry.

But for all the tepid weight of insufficiency hangs

quick and pale, like a mantle

upon my shoulders,

I have not surrendered.

Even in the lives of saints, there was a time when holiness depended not on strength of conviction—

not the stamina to cross coals and embrace lions—

but on a closeness to warmth.

We all soak in the stray radiation of our fellowships

living large on atomic charge and abstracted dreams that fill us with smoke;

thick, salty vapors for us to expel

in a mist of cells and stories. This is growth.

I am not worth my space (not yet) and I do not belong

in that pantheon of well-intentioned dead.

But beyond my apologies lies a strange country,

a road where I fear to tread.

Hope is a land without maps.