Isaac Pressnell Man Searching for Immorality/Woman Searching for Eternity

-after Bill Viola


For a long time,

I wanted to die, and now the fear of death

permeates me like milk stirred into espresso.

My brain can’t figure eternity without

itself, not now that it knows the fact

of your body, its gentle pressure

against me as you sleep, your breath

like the certain, insistent tide.

When I marry you, I’ll be marrying

your death, perhaps your physical

decay, perhaps the erosion of the neurons

that conjure you.I’m thinking now

of the chimp they taught to speak

with her hands, the one whose infant

died, how she couldn’t stop forming three

words with her fingers (baby, come hug) and I want

to look outward with you into the unknowable

endless world, to let it fully into my body,

which is what we gasp when we eat the dark

bread of our erotic selves, but something in me

(my ego, my gendering?) insists I own you,

however tenderly, that I clench you and never

loosen.The question: how to ever give you

back?How to love the world that much?


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