I was free associating and then my lady got in the way, as she’s been doing the last few days. One thing I like about our relationship is that I’ve always felt she looked at me the way one would look at, say, a very interesting and entirely new insect: with bewilderment, amusement, and a tendency to trail vaguely after, taking notes. The funny thing is, I look at her in sort of the same way, but from a different angle.
Now that’s an interesting thought, isn’t it? The behavior of a disciple has a great deal in common with the behavior of a scientist. Much has already been made, by smarter people than me, of the comparison between a religious person’s faith and a scientist’s sometimes equally dogmatic adherence to his own hierarchical structures and unexamined biases. I’m not trying to be that critical. I’m thinking of something more… emotional.
The way a scientist trails after a fascinating specimen, noting its every characteristic, trying to absorb and learn with each moment… much like an apostle, attending his lord’s every word and gesture, no? It’s all just forms and permutations of devotion, fascination, attraction. When you fix your eyes and find so much to feast on that you never want to move them again. When you see the work of understanding this creature laid out before you, a thousand lifetimes long, and feel nothing but a ravenous hunger to begin.
I’ve been watching her a very long time, and now everything is new. I feel like something with wings, shackled underground for an age, finally, abruptly, freed… staggering into the sun, pale as a gasp and trembling, wondering if it’ll ever fly again. These muscles long ago learned to keep their place. It will be hard to learn that I’m allowed to look at her, to linger. Hard to learn that more than a moment’s accidental touch isn’t blasphemous. It’s all so bright and clear and beautiful that it hurts, brings tears to my eyes every few minutes. I want to forget about the withered, scarred thing I became in her absence. Don’t mind my stumbling. I’ll be right with you. I just need a little moment to remember how to walk.
Look around and see the stars in the walls
try to hold their positions in your mind.
You’ll need to be able to do this blind –
when we get back there’ll be no light at all.
Three fingers like a compass on your chest
describe curves and lines, geometry
entirely unique to you and me,
lists of new hypotheses to test.
Like glancing between the sun and the black
I must unlearn the habits of a thief –
take looks at you like you’ll make me put them back
Slowly transmuting faith into belief.
A lifetime spent stretched on you like a rack
and still my strength is beggared by relief.