Finding the Place Where

locustOne day the question collides in you,
The curve of its newness slick behind
Your ear, mimicking that same arc,
Teasing you into listening, and this time,
To the way the wind whistles around
Your neck, the adjustment your feet
Make to the undulation of the earth
On this path not taken before to a place
Which tethers you without force
—Cool ageless stones lining
The threshold where you pause to drink
From a bowl of water that has appeared
To ease the burden of the new battle
Blushing its shame through your body.

The world was not made for you.
You were made for it: answer
Your own question by going inside.
Better yet, do not answer the question
At all. Drop whatever you are wearing
In the dust beside the threshold of rock
And slip into the darkness that waits.
There are no lights inside because what
Would be the point of illuminating
The answers when the questions
That matter never seek them? That was
Always you, seeking, pondering, twisting
The words and thoughts to fulfill
The interrogative that cannot be fulfilled.

Perhaps the stillness is frightening,
That nosy silence after the question
When the world waits for the answer
Is all that you may have known. Relearn
This absence and consider it as the welcome
It is to be . . . to be . . . She pauses
At the first lit torch, closes her eyes,
The question like a parasite pulled
from that place it had lodged so she can
continue, not looking back. Everywhere
we look we will find blood trails
if that is what we are looking for.
Her hips ease into the rhythm of night,
A movement she is learning to trust.

I bruised the soles of my feet with running
Through the alfalfa fields, uncaring
Of the hard remains of stalks just harvested.
I used the darkness as a place to store
The questions and hoped the answers
Would somehow meet up with them there
And they would summon me to their party
And we would all rejoice in the commerce
Of knowledge created of mere mingling.
Then, I arrived at the threshold, like you,
Like she did, and I tasted the sweet smell
Of the locust trees in the grove around
The sacred place, and the rest of my life
Opened into yours, blossoming like madness.

–Shaun Perkins

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