Louise Gluck

Telemachus’ Confession

were not better off
when he left; ultimately
I was better off. This
amazed me, not because I was convinced
I needed them both but because 
long into adulthood I retained
something of the child’s
hunger for ritual. How else address
that sense of being
insufficiently loved? Possibly
all children are
insufficiently loved; I
wouldn’t know. But all along
they each wanted something
different from me: having 
to fabricate the being
each required in any 
given moment was
less draining than
having to be
two people. And after awhile
I realized I was
actually a person; I had
my own voice, my own perceptions, though
I came to them late. I no longer regret
the terrible moment in the fields,
the ploy that took
my father away. My mother
grieves enough for us all.