In the sixth grade when I read Gandhi’s autobiography,
my favorite part was about him falling in love with his wife
when they were married at the age of thirteen.
They had the kind of epic fights
that arrive when a man wants to cage
a woman who wants to be free.
All out of love.
He adored her- thought clipped wings could
keep her near, quiet and in line,
make her blind to her own desires and be the dutiful wife
who acquiesced to his will with a smile.
He was wrong- but that’s beside the point.
After a while
they learned to love like adults
who were thrusts into all that was there
in their time-
like ballet dancers on a minefield.
I think of this and can’t help but laugh:
my little girl mind turned Gandhi’s life into a love story,
with a beginning, a middle, and an end
all in the first fifty pages
of a book the size of a boat.
A romantic before I knew the weight of the word.
And even better,
my other favorite part was about him eating meat:
unable to beat the lures of curiosity or
pressure from a misguided friend,
the notyet Great Soul would sneak away to the river,
throw in his beliefs, and eat dinner
with a dark reflection.
All of my favorite parts as a child
were of him as a child
or a childintoman,
who did the opposite of the lessons he’d later teach and
who didn’t understand how to be
the change we might never see and
who wasn’t some perfect creature of peace…
What does that say about me?