Relative Value

See me on my pinnacle,
with blessings to excess,
all these beautiful gifts cascading
gently along the slope that descends
from where I now stand, overlooking
all I have been given in this life:

the doe-eyed, rosy children;
the gentle wife; the cozy shelter
where so many Christmases
have been celebrated, where
babies were born through moans
of labor, where fighting words
flew through the night air like
poison darts, only to be followed
by tears and apologies and forgiveness
and love in its myriad forms.

This, all this, I now hereby forever
forsake in the name of the only thing
that truly possesses me; the ultimate
pilot of my conscience.

See the doe-eyed children tumbling
from their mild grassy slopes, crying,
in their innocence not understanding
why I am never coming home again.

See my gentle wife, on her knees
before her God, bewildered, grieving,
incredulous that all she offered
could be so roundly discarded.
See her unable to meet my gaze.
See her hollowed cheeks, her spirit’s
defeat; see her plodding forward
with maternal duties because
the children need the safety of routine
more than ever, now that I
have become a stranger, and this
by choice.

See the cozy home we shared slowly
sliding off the edge of this precipice,
holding within it all the memories of
children and fights and Christmases
and love and every once-precious thing,
all that I now willingly disown.

I watch it all with the glazed vision
of one who is cruelly enchanted,
this falling away of everything; and I had
everything, didn’t I. But as it turns out,
in the end, that is not what I wanted most.

I watch it all crumbling downward,
the cries growing fainter with the distance.
I am only vaguely aware of the haunting pain
left in the wake of my steps, but by now
it has been too long, and my selective
impairment prevents me from any
saving acts in this final hour.

What I want, what I must have,
comes at this price: the deserting of all
most men could ever dream of, which
has become inexplicably disposable to me.

Someday I may regret this, but right now
I am under the trance of what rules me
and blinds me.

Claire Juno, © 2014