Desire of the Mind

by Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt

Laying on new grass, fresh blades like a green earthen quilt below; they hold each other, pointing at clouds, pulling at red clover, counting reasons why they need to separate. Of late this has been their struggle, which they return to in the last moments of the day, watching the sun recede over the valley, touching each other’s faces with sad longing.

“I have a child. I am tethered to this earth. I don’t presume to know what you need, but I have an intuition. Right now you are blossoming, discovering who you are and what you need. I was like that when I was your age; we would have been better for each other then. You don’t need to be with a salty dog like me.”

His words roll over her like the chill in the air.

“Really it’s that we are in different chapters of life. I want commitment–and need to keep the door open to find a woman who will build a life with me here. I can’t keep that door open while I’m with you, my body just can’t seem to allow it. I’m older now; I’m no longer interested in casual love.”

The concept of desire,
is a longing that breaks and rips the seams,
deciding before considering the question.
The concept of freedom,
opens and bends a choice into a thousand possibilities,
questioning before considering a decision.

“What can I say?” she says, turning her face away. She has told him before–so many times that she wonders if there is a different way to express these thoughts–“I’m still getting to know you, still getting to know myself. All I can give is a promise that while here, while touching your face, I will only ever be kind and honest. What more could I give? What more can anyone offer?”

“People can make a choice.”

“You are the one that’s made a choice. Don’t you see? Already this is not enough for you. And this has just begun.”

“Because I know your answer.”

The peepers grow louder, cued into song by the shadow of dusk.

“No, I can’t build a life with you. For me, it’s one season at a time.”

He wraps his arms around her as the conversation that they’ve had so many times before swirls around them.

His breath warms her neck; she runs her fingers through his hair. The air in the valley cools, sending a ripple of cold across their skin.

“If only we could be like peepers, filled with nothing but song.”

Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt was raised on the island of Kauai and spent her childhood in nature, peeling mangoes with her teeth, and working on her family’s farm. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in New York and studied creative writing at Oxford University during her junior year abroad. Aiyanna moved to Asheville in 2007 and works for the local independent newspaper, Mountain Xpress.

About Desire—Aiyanna wrote this prose poem for a Great Smokies Writing Program class.