Now and then I am challenged
to define my spirit and my beliefs,
usually by someone stuck in the binary.
I see the dichotomies coming a mile away:
are you a good Christian or an evil Satanist?
Are you a stupid believer or a brilliant atheist?
Do you hajj or do you kneel? Would you
have lit the pyre or been one of the burned?
I usually do not speak of these things precisely
to avoid the silliness of such talk, but since
you did not ask and yet seem curious
I will say only this: that when I come to a place
where my road ends in a choice of right turn
or left turn and everyone around me urges
their preference upon me, I turn around
and go back the way I came, or I sit down
on the spot in the middle of the road
and observe the land and sky all around,
see if perhaps there is a pond or ocean
nearby, or a river or stream.
If you do not understand this,
you could never understand what I might say
about how I apprehend the nature of God.
You would not learn enough of who I am.
If you decide that I must therefore be
among the ones to be marked for burning,
then burn me. Burn me without label or name
for what kind of fuel I am to you.
It seems that in your world there must be
a name for everything, whether or not
you understand it. Decide later,
after I’m gone. Name my ashes instead.
I’ll learn your name for me
from the wind as it carries me off
in small eddies and tornadoes,
in all directions at once.