“The Open Door” by William Henry Fox Talbot (1800–1877). Salted paper print from paper negative. Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

No one but Spock and God
are entirely or even
mostly rational. No one
but you and I are entirely
or even half irrational.

And yet I should say,
I’d rather you be you,
mistaking some things
for things that they aren’t,
than you be me, seeing

everything in squares
or arranged along lines.
But I’d rather me be me,
not allowing incompatible
categories to overlap,

than me be you, assuming
buying a vacuum cleaner
means pitching the broom.
I guess one might file this
under the dreaded “you do

you, boo,” but I’d rather
think of it as ontological,
à la Popeye’s I am what I am
followed by the caveat
and that’s all that I am.

But is this all that we are?
No concession of weakness,
an acknowledgement
that the self has a limit
explains, in part, our penchant

for boiled kale and beets.
We build ourselves up
to make ourselves stronger
in body if not in mind,
leave the weird stuff behind.

Aaron Belz’s books include The Bird Hoverer (2007), Lovely, Raspberry (2010) and Glitter Bomb (2014). His next will be Soft Launch (Persea, 2019). He lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina.
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