Loving the Sinner

by Daron Larson 

Who am I
to hold you accountable
for the risks you didn't take?

I assumed you were me.

It must have been
the lazy eye,
the persistent uncertainty,
the aching heart,
the sense of exclusion from the tribe.

We share the same sins of omission.

We could have been someone,
but you were afraid you might
die from embarrassment.

Remember when you had to ask
to be dropped from the diving board
into the paralyzing uncertainty
of the cobalt water?

Remember how you were always running to the library
to run your finger along the spines of
what had already been written about
something you just heard?

Remember the ease with which
you turned your back on Bach and Brahms
when someone you didn't know
explained her theory of
the curse of talent's impatience?

And look at us now.

Instead of being someone we might have been,
we fill this drafty house with
rough inventions and imperfect rhapsodies,
and the tables are cluttered with
books we mean to read.

Just last night,
your daughter rehearsed
her French presentation
in the bathroom
with the fan running,
and our old dog sandwiched
who you are now
against the warmth
of a love so unlikely and persistent
that you never could have dreamed it.

On the kitchen island,
an amaryllis whispered a lesson on waking up
while moonlight reflected on the glass dome
covering what remains of
a double layer cake.