Posts Tagged ‘space’



Perhaps one day they will find the way

to take all the empty space out of our atoms—

condense us to our essence. Then

the whole of the human race would fit

inside a sugar cube. It would serve us right,

expansive buggers that we are, we who stamp

our atoms all over the earth, we who now

leave our footprints in space.

Like our electrons, we exist too many

places at once. Or, perhaps one day,

we’ll learn to embrace all that space within us,

and instead of plundering, conquering, developing out,

we’ll go in, travel in, enter grace.


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Hi friends,


the poem from a few days ago about the Voyager 2 leaving our heliosphere, “By the Numbers,” was accepted last night by Rattle.com for their series Poets Respond, poems about the news. Here is a link to the text and audio!


By the Numbers, Rattle

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In the corner of the closet

in permanent marker

I wrote in small letters

“this room belongs

to Rosemerry Wahtola

forever and ever, no matter

who else lives here.”


The room had been built

for me in the basement

by my father, and I loved

its orange carpet, its

subterranean dark,

the way I could close

the door and be entirely alone.


The room was not mine,

no more than the mountains

are mine, these mountains

I love for their openness,

their long trails, their cliffs,

their secret glades.


No, it is always we

who belong to the spaces

that hold us, though

they change, they mark us

invisibly, they write

on our inner walls,

as if to say you are mine,

child, forever.



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When I Drop the Stubbornness

All day I practice
noticing the space

between us, feeling
the subtle tugs, the

repulsions, the charge,
the release. Sometimes

I forget to let it happen,
try to force a nearness or

a solitude. That is when
I can feel it, how real

the space is, almost as if
you are one and I am another

and the space between us
is a third. I have noticed

that when you and I,
at the same time, allow

ourselves to lean—
is that the right word?—

perhaps it is more that we
open to that space,

then I notice how easy it is
to be for each other

as the water is for the moon,
holding entirely without

holding at all, not changing
and utterly transformed.

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While Not Sleeping

All night the river
touched my body,
not with its long dark
tongues of chill but with
its thousand thousand
thousand audible waves
all lapping without stopping
rearranging me. Perhaps it
is always this way. Perhaps
we are always being
changed, only we are too busy
to notice it. In the morning mirror
I looked the same, but I knew
different. Perhaps you
have felt it, too, this
absence moving through,
the space it leaves
in its wake.

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She says, How are you?

And there is no right way

to answer this. Tell her, Fine,

and she can smile and you


can smile and move on

to the business at hand.

Or tell her, Oh, you know,

and shrug, and then ask


about her day. There are

waterfalls inside you,

steep icy roads, sirens,

tall golden grass as far


as the eye can see,

and for every moment

that you might mention

to her—when he did this or they


said that, or you knew

whatever it was that you knew—

there is all the space

between those moments,


that space perhaps even

more important than

anything that happened.

How you felt the world


dissolve before it returned.

How everything spills,

ravels, pours out. It’s truer

than anything else you know.


But how do you say this?

So you say, Fine. Or you don’t.

You say, well, there’s no way

to say what you will say.


So you open your mouth,

wondering if a black bird

or a beetle or a little lie

or your heart might fly out.


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balanced on a twig—
two blue dragonflies and
all that space between them


the story, calloused
and gnarled, inside it
red leaping blood


picking up the moon
like a telephone to dial
your number, of course


dessert for
the Armageddon


opening a can
of worms to find
rose petals

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