everything i do comes down to the fact that i’ve been here before.
in some arrangement of my atoms i was allowed to be free
so don’t ask me when freedom is coming
when a certain eye of mine has seen it,
a cornea in a convoluted future recalls my freedom.
when asked about the absence of freedom, the lack of it
i laugh at the word absence, which always suggests
a presence that has left. but absence is the arena
of death, and we call the dead free (went on to glory), what
is the absence of freedom but an assumption of it?
i have never longed for something
which was not once mine. even fiction is my possession,
and flight is an act of fleeing as much as an act of flying.
Copyright © 2020 by Kara Jackson. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 3, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.
About this Poem
“When I wrote this poem, I was dealing with freedom and its most abstract reasoning. I was reckoning with the life-long struggle towards freedom, but also freedom as a natural possession, a metaphysical one. I was thinking about the way abundance can be as threatening as absence, and how freedom is a host for both.”
Date Published: 2020-08-03
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/fleeing