Rebecca K. Reynolds

Honest Company for the Journey

"The Rebel"

(Dedicated to Rich Mullins, who loved rebels and understood them. I'm sorry you're not with us to celebrate your 60th, Rich. I sure am grateful for the time we had with you.)

I put my toes right up to the line.
I look over the edge,
and standing there I feel that sweet line of rebel fire
running through my belly.

"Aha! I say," I’m not so old
"Not so worn out,
I could throw myself off this thing and fly, and fly,
and then fall with style."

I flirt with disaster.
I wink at apocalypses.
I stand on the street corner of law and grace
and lift up the hem of my skirt to call a taxi.

I yank two hairs out of a horse’s tail.
I throw rocks at bulls.
I eat seafood from the Asian market.
I talk to strangers.
I jaywalk.

I say terrible things just to try them on for size,
then I try on sizely things just to say I’ve been terrible.

I medicate with danger.

I develop entire worlds
in which I am some kind of protagonist,
some sort of villain,
Don Quixote in full charge
or Casanova.

But mostly I’m scared.
Afraid of not being enough in the end,
afraid of being someone’s biggest disappointment,
of scrolling through that too-long, damning letter that says,
“I thought you were okay,
But you’re not.
I had hoped you were better then you are.”

Afraid of being seen.

Adam and Eve looked down and behold, they were funny looking.

I don’t know if they laughed or not,
but when they stared into the mirror that was nailed on the backside
of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,
they saw lumps and bumps in unfortunate places.

Eve had saddle bags and saggy
and Adam, well, he had one of those fold-over-the belt beer bellies old men get,
and lo, Spanx wasn’t around yet,
So they jimmy rigged a couple flannel shirts from the Goodwill
and then they said, “Honey, how does this look?”
“Fine, fine,” they said.

Or maybe that’s not how it went,
I get things all mixed up.

But ever since then people been looking to hide and medicate, medicate and hide,
by thrill, by will, by lies, by excuses,
by the sweat of a righteous brow hacking up dry sod,
by casting a thin line into the purple shade bank and letting the bait drop slow,
and then tickling and teasing it in,
by building idols,
by spilling blood,
instead of just running back into the cool of the day
where the Good Lord tends to walk after his supper every night
and just laying on our honest faces in the grass
and sobbing,
"I messed this all up, all up, all up.
And I'm so sorry.
I ran away, and what I found out was that I miss you.
Because apart from you, the earth is formless and void,
and there is no light, no light at all."

By Rebecca Reynolds 2015