ON BEING AN ENNEAGRAM 9
How strange it is to have one’s mind
live in the bargaining middle.
Making camp in the breach, the trenches
full with soldiers shivering, drenched
by the rain which falls on both, pools forming
at their feet, layers soaked with misery.
A strange place to build a cabin, in the center
of the highway; cars zip past and some errantly
swerve when they see me mid-text
“youll never believe what he sai—”
A home at perpetual witness to conflict makes
PTSD a regular diagnosis; like children of a war zone,
teenagers shipped home after one too many, and
children criminalized for living in that part of town.
But the one who knows the conflict first hand
can be mistaken for its perpetrator; like the abused
for the abuser; the witness a suspect. Driven to see more
than two sides, but even deeper, the conflict itself.
It is strange to live in that space and know
the inevitability of the fight.
When I invite you into my home, pour the drinks, offer
a seat to talk, you’ll hear my side isn’t represented
on this field, road, arena. It’ll take time of course,
we’ll need to take the day.
You’ll come to hear my words
but I’ll get you to talk about yourself.
It’ll take a long time to open up. To be prepared
for the openness; intimacy is supposed to be our strength,
but it’s always been our weakness.
I’m not sure we both know that, though.
Then we’ll take the tour.
I’ll show you a tongue bruised from biting.
We’ll see the kitchen where the real drinks are poured
from the top shelf. The bedroom, where nights are fitful
and the terrors lurk, the pains of war
and how little I’ve done to end them.
And I’ll share what it’s like to avoid being bold,
despite a fondness for bright colors and deep talk.
You’ll hear how we stretch the limits of our imagination
only to face criticism for being too divisive.
Once I make sure your glass is full of the good stuff,
I’ll wonder aloud
What would it take for others
to realize how divided we could really be?