Monday, April 23, 2012

How to be a Man

Don’t tell me how to be a man.
If I want to wake with the dawn on Easter morning,
crawl out sleepy-eyed into the lawn’s cold dew
and lie wrapped in a blanket of sunrise
as the heat of day burns the tomb from wet limbs
and the first light of the songbirds
sends streaks of yellow across a field of blue;

if I want to write a sonnet on sea-foam
or on the seaweed that wrapped around me once
when I was young and its tentacles were like a baptism;

if I want to climb an evergreen tree
like it was the mast of a man’o’war
and sit in the sky with the wind
as my only friend,

then I will. Leaving you, arms
wrapped around your knees staring
at your navel, trying to remember the manliest
way to unfold yourself. Until you decide
whether your works are enough to earn a rite of passage
—and even after that—
don’t try to tell me what manliness is. It’s not
for you or me to decide, thank God.