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.