This is Not a Confession
by Peter Leight

I’m not in trouble or anything—

personally I don’t even have a motive,

I mean where are you supposed to get one?

I’m folding my arms because I don’t want to alarm you,

it’s only because I don’t want you to be disappointed.

If it’s not better is it getting worse?

Not withholding anything—

I’m describing everything,

there’s nothing more satisfying than description.

I often think I know more than I’m willing to admit.

When I say I’m going to I mean if I can,

or if I have a chance,

I don’t want to mess anything up,

not by my behavior.

I’m not looking for a better offer.

Not making concessions,

not right now,

isn’t it about time?

Sometimes I get up in the morning with my hands in somebody else’s lap,

my cheeks are bulging slightly,

I don’t know if it’s an accident

or it’s just time,

do you think it’s suspicious?

I often need to remind myself I didn’t do anything,

nothing at all,

I mean intention isn’t even an activity.

It’s not something you can depend on.

People are absent when they need to be present,

I’m not saying it isn’t self-serving—

one who behaves like a worm cannot complain as Kant pointed out in a similar context

when one is stepped on.

I don’t want to disappoint you,

or to be cruel,

it’s sad to be cruel,

disappointment is sad but it doesn’t have to be cruel.

There are times when you need to be sad and times when you need to be cruel,

the circumstances are almost always extenuating,

showing that something isn’t the same or how things that seem to be different are the same—

of course you don’t want to be silent

when there’s something that needs to be pointed out.

My lips crack like a mosaic.

In the absence of evidence to the contrary I’m going to assume I’m guiltless,

thanks for asking.

Peter Leight lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. He has previously published poems in Paris Review, AGNI, Antioch Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, FIELD, Raritan, and other magazines.  

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