The Ancient Modern

Honestly / Joshua Alan Sturgill

But I don’t know. It could be, all I have
is honesty. It’s honest, first of all, to say
I never feel honest. I look down into
that antique kettle I call my soul,
the liquid is fragrant and subtle,
but murky.                  And when I try

to give them names as they rise, the scents
the scents keep changing. And though my
name-words—my designators and
descriptors—gain precision, they become
increasingly complex as I age. I go to Confession.
I try to isolate the feathers of steam

and identify them singly. This, just a little,
helps make sense of the beauty and the fear, but
I always leave with a blessing and with regret.
Well, I might have been more honest, I tell myself.
If only I’d had more time to prepare. Or trusted
my confessor more. Or attempted hypnotism.

Or simply had less pride. But always,
what I actually admit
and what I wanted to reveal
are like travelers
guided surely by a single compass
in opposite directions.

All poetry and supplementary material: copyright 2021 by Joshua Alan Sturgill. All rights reserved.

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