Treasure Island

Louis McKee


Inevitable


Somewhere in Forster—was it Aspects of the Novel?—
there's something to the effect of,
How can I tell what I think till I see what I say?
I've always meant to check the quote, but I'm half afraid
it won't be there, or if it is, that I got it all wrong,
and I pretty much like it the way it is—
I pull it out and toss it onto the table like one of those
really brightly colored chips that only get thrown into the pot
after the hand has gotten out of control and someone wants
to say something a bit more heady than, I'll see you,
and raise you, but that's what he always says, it's inevitable.
In fact, it is inevitable, the word, inevitable,
that has bought me down this road in the first place,
that made me remember Forster, and whether or not
something is inevitable—now, this is the leap—like, say,
the week I just spent in Illinois with a married woman,
who for a long time has been burning
like one of those sad wildfires they have had
all summer long out West, that gets bigger and hotter,
and spreads, it seems, forever, and while this one burned,
I kept telling myself that it was inevitable
that we would end up in the same town somewhere
at the same time, and inevitable, too, that after a few days
one or both of us would allow our ambiguity
about what was going on to get the best of us,
and we both would walk off sad and hurt,
when really it was not us who had a right
to sad and hurt, her husband and children having
a much better claim, and in the interest of terribly clarity,
of unrelenting truth, it is necessary here to interject
the word guilt, and while some people,
those who buy into religion, for example, who touch
finger to finger with the Hand of Heaven,
all herb and clay-tinted oil, on a stone ceiling,
will use Eve's apple to explain how all this is inevitable,
part of some great master plan. I wonder;
or was it simply another test, an opportunity to
do the right thing, and perhaps we failed, and I am not
even sure about that, but I know that she and I feel guilty,
and while I thought it was inevitability
I was talking about here, it was something else entirely,
and I guess old Forster was right, even if he didn't say it.


Anonymous submission.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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