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"We all want to know the future: who we'll be, where, with whom, and when. We think our minds will keep us safe, but they won't. I don't want my plane to fall from the sky with a black heart. When I'm up there I try to feel all the love I'm afraid of on the ground."
—Emily Kendal Frey

A Tyrant Seeks Conclusion in the Known Self

Emily Kendal Frey

In California we went to the dive bar and I lost my wallet
 
I remember falling into it

And maybe kissing against someone’s garage
 
I fell on city sidewalks

In California and other places

The trees looked at me tenderly

I’m guessing

You do not love me because your mom did not love you

I understand the equation

Meanwhile, I make a butter fire in the kitchen

Two times I heat the butter for the eggs

Both times I burn it 

Just observe, I tell

My students, describe what is

The woman next to me on the airplane

Moves pictures from her wallet to her pocket

In case we die

I cry with my eyes closed and the Sprite goes by

The unconscious drives us to master 

The childhood situation

I wonder if there are spiders

Here, in the carpet or between the seats

A place with bugs is so

Much more friendly

The book I am reading tells me

Ours is an earthbound crisis

That until we cease to dominate

With doing, we will fail

At being

My fingernails

Are the color of rotten peaches

On Orcas Island there’s a stone tower on top of Mt. Constitution

Some days you can see for miles, the many

Mountain ranges and pine-crusted bodies

In my mind

I practice dying

I throw myself over the edge

The plane is making its way into the streaking

Sun of this country

In Mexico I slept in a clay structure facing the ocean

I could hear the wind constantly

I bought you a tin heart with a hole in it 

I brought it back in my backpack

In bed you said Don’t make fun of me

When I’m old, okay?

When I think of your face

I have to think of me 

You are holding my knee

And now I look into you

Now I look up and face

The abject fear 

I am an animal

The bedroom is trees

Go limp a voice tells me

When a person passes me on their way to the restroom

I pretend they are the kindly face

Of god

Look deep into the eyes

Of the divine

It’s so beautiful isn’t it

To believe you are looking

At the future

Copyright © 2013 by Emily Kendal Frey. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on December 17, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Emily Kendal Frey

by this poet

poem
What if everything 
were revealed: where I was
last night. You, etc. The rain
is coming down like salad.
My sister's hair
reminds me of my sister
so much I can't 
stop looking. Who am I
to have arms? On the plane
one short dream:
a baby so small
it wasn't even human,
just a bouquet 
of light with wise
cellular