“I’m taller than Jesus,” my daughter announces.
I guess she announces this to me, since I am standing
there, next to her, and we’re both inside this sculpture park
dotted with abstract figures, and I want to ask her how
she knows, but I haven’t had enough coffee
to go spelunking inside the teenage mind. We named
our first born Miriam because we thought
it meant “wished for child,” and it does,
and she is, but these days other meanings—
“strong waters” and “rebellion”—apply more.
The wind smacks on gaudy boulders
that look like giant Skittles. I should have asked her
why she even cares that she’s taller than the messiah—
I mean, she’s an atheist, or irreligious, or whatever
she wants to call herself, and anyway
it feels as if I am working out the differences
between exegesis and hermeneutics, or
apportions and mergers, or facts and this field
we’re walking in, an art park founded by
the co-op king of New York. So as we pass
an installation of cartoon clouds held up
by a matrix of beams, I can’t help but change
the subject in my mind, and speculate to myself that
this 120 acres of art-filled earth is probably
one big tax write-off, and those metal
effigies of sky might crash down on
our heathen torsos if I mention Jesus again.
“I bet you’re probably taller than Tom Cruise,”
I say at last. “What’s a Tom Cruise?” she asks.