Who Can Govern Themselves Out of Governance?

if I could be somewhere
I wasn’t I would be there

or I would have already
paid that place some

cold and charitable visit.
if you knew how wealthy

I wasn’t you would run.
I cannot remember

what I was before I tried
to become what I thought

I could in light of the
dark that swallowed me.

the story of how I thought
I had not been pure and

had not been enough. how
I was not there though I

had been but was gone
after what I did not

know I did not need
came. how do you fix

that which the house
has no tools to fix?

where is the resolve as
bright as the wet face

of a child, the sight of the
rigid origin of the break?

Copyright © 2023 by A. H. Jerriod Avant. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 13, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.