I dream of a woman I saw on the street last night, I dream the street, the night, only this time she stops.
She takes my hands in hers and looks at me with urgency.
Rush to sacrifice everything you have, she says, and your sacrifice will be worth nothing.
I place a hand on her wrist. Her skin feels scaly. I love the penguins, I say. Not the birds.
She nods gravely and leaves.
When I wake, this is how I know I had dreamt it at all.
Each dawn, I ask myself: what have, what will I, what must I give up?
I measure my life in degrees of suffering. Everything that is mine is mine to give, to lose.
The woman in the street asks me what I want. I wait. I know she will leave once I have replied. Dreambeats pass.
I do not want anything, I say, as much as I want to want.
She turns and flees, her white dress billowing out from her, until she is only a pinprick in the dark.
Alone, I say: every fallen being knows it is the skies we have loved, never the ground.
Desire has always been elusive. More, perhaps, than I want it to be.
The body is a rigid thing, casting itself only to the shape of necessity. In survival, it is single-minded, focused, a dagger pointed to the heart of need.
In contrast, the body in want is chaotic, confused, unpredictable, placed in a constant flux of motion that lands it nowhere, showcasing a startling willingness to forget whatever it is that it desires in order to pursue something else.
Not obsessed with the object as much as it is with the means.
Despite all of this, we must love and eat in equal measures.
To read these pieces in your inbox each week, enter your email in the comments below or let me know at email@example.com