[from Mark Jarman's Epistles, 2007]
11. One wants, the other wants
. . .
One wants to be singled out.
The way a knife will not fully separate a shaft of green onion or stalk of celery it has chopped, that is how one remains attached. The way blinding tears come, mincing yellow onions, that is how knowledge of others blurs. The tedious unpeeling of garlic cloves, especially the finicky thin ones near the heart of the bulb, with purple highlights running through the wrapping and skin, that is how the many inhere, clustered.
But one wants to be singled out, unsheathed from the smother of community, a slim, spiralform, marble word.
That word is your name.
There is in each of us an agent that refuses to die. It makes us, it is driven to form us, and has no idea who we are. Zapped by the ultimate fire blast, it will shift shape and endure. Lodged eventually in a crevice of the dead planet, it will wait millennia for rain.
One loves another, one loves himself. One strides through the color wheel naked with arms outstretched, one crouches drawing diagrams on the bottom of the ocean floor. One worries that his heart is going off, like a week-old carton of milk. One that love is leaking away through some hairfine crack.
. . .