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Posts Tagged ‘space’

Grand Scale




Today I am grateful to remember I’m small—
a woman who lives in a deep river canyon
surrounded by fourteen-thousand foot peaks
in state the size of New Zealand
in the fourth largest country on Earth
on the fifth largest planet in our solar system
which has a radius of three billion miles
in a galaxy one hundred thousand light years in diameter
in an observable universe of ninety-three billion light years.
I sit at the end of the deep river canyon
and look at my two cupped hands.
What I can carry is so small.
What carries me is so great.
I offer it my grief.
For a moment, I am weightless.

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Strange Teaching

Sometimes when I forget to think
I feel in me eternity, feel big bang
and black hole and spiraling galaxy.
Feel myself as arc of swallow,
bend of river, canyon depth,
feel myself as wind, as branch,
as scent of evergreen,
as slowly spinning earth.
In those moments,
I feel the everything I am
and the everything I’m not—
a self so whole it is lost.
No me, no you, no other,
no here, no there, no when,
no need to name, no need
to understand, no need
to state things just so.
The quietest of teachings:
the erasing of the one
who wants to know.

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The Inconceivable

Nothing can separate us from love.
There is no way to know this
without paying a cost so great
some part of us longs to bargain
with the universe and trade back
the priceless truth. But part of us—
the part that cannot be named,
the part that wakes at dawn,
the part that sings in the darkness,
the part that wades in the infinite—
it’s not so much that this part says yes,
more that it simply expands with the truth,
much as the universe itself expands
due to a dark, mysterious energy.
Any scientist will tell you,
empty space is not nothing.
We who grieve learn
to hold that empty space
and know it as love.
I know, it’s inconceivable.
We feel how it holds us, too.


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for “the lucky buyer” who “went home with a certificate of authenticity” for an “immaterial sculpture” by Salvatore Garau


What could be more valuable
than nothing? The nothing that
frames “The Thinker,” the nothing
that holds every bowl,
every vase, every bust, every thought.
Let others buy the clay, the steel,
the papier-mâché. I will be satisfied
with nothing more than nothing.
Nothing pleases me. Nothing
enchants me. Nothing,
as Heisenberg says,
has a weight. Just think
of the space here beside me
where you are not.
If someone asks me why
I have a five-by-five-foot
empty space taped off in my home
with a plaque that says I Am,
it is because I am so in love
with nothing. Imagine it—
nothing, the color of happiness,
nothing, the size of love,
nothing, the shape of god.

This poem was published in Rattle’s Poet’s Respond on June 13, 2021

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In Orbit


 
 
Count the one beautiful blue and green planet.
Count it again.
Say “home,” then marvel at the taste of tears.
Notice how no borders matter from here.
Remember how important they feel
when standing on a border. Once
you dreamt of being alone. Of being
far away from parking lots and grocery store lines
and men with guns and violent conviction.
Now you dream of touching someone else,
of breathing in the scent of garden dirt,
of hearing a voice without static, of lying down
in a bed, held by your own sweet gravity.
What you would do to taste a tree-ripened peach.
Give up on counting stars. Draw lines between them,
creating your own constellations:
The open hand. The river gorge. The crooked evergreen.
A semi-automatic rifle, which you re-constellate
into a small bouquet of lilies. Consider forgiveness.
Wonder how long it will take before it feels authentic.
Circling has taught you how things come around.
Remember? There was a time you didn’t think
you knew how to pray.
 

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asked to rate my satisfaction

from one to five stars—

trying to submit the milky way

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It smacks me, sometimes,

how connected we are—

though we draw boundaries,

build walls, fight wars,

call names, and kill. All it takes

is a photo of earth from space

and I’m stunned again,

how much we are in this together.

And though we’d rather not know it,

every choice we make

affects everyone, everything else.

Perhaps this is why I weep

when the woman I’ve barely met

embroiders me a sweater

with a word she knows I’ll love

and then brings it to my home.  

Because it’s proof of kindness,

a confirmation that beauty

not only exists, it will lead us to each other.

How easily two strangers

might become friends.

It can happen anywhere

on this small blue and green planet—

anywhere two people co-exist,

the invitation to be generous,

thoughtful, to think of new ways

to be good to each other.

Each kindness a bridge that spans

the world’s flaws. Each moment,

another chance to build another bridge.

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Not that I want to be someone else,

just that I want to be less myself,

 

which is to say less the woman

who thinks she knows anything

 

about anything—gardening or writing

or skiing or parenting or loving—

 

I want to be less who I am and

more what a tree is, what a star is,

 

protons fused with other protons,

and the strong force that holds

 

particles together in the center of atoms,

and the weak force that breaks the atoms down,

 

and the electromagnetic force that binds

all molecules. Yes, this is how I want to meet you,

 

without a name, unencumbered by a me,

a collection of atoms and forces that rhyme

 

with you, linked as we are from the very beginning.

How easy it is then to say hello, to fall in love

 

with each other, the world.

 

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You are not a passive observer in the cosmos. The entire universe is expressing itself through you at this very minute.

—Deepak Chopra

 

 

Even as she made the cauliflower soup,

she was a deep space explorer.

No one else in the room seemed to notice

 

she was floating. No one noticed

how gravity had no hold on her.

No, they only saw she was chopping onions,

 

noticed how the act made her cry. How was it

did they not hear her laughter, astonished

as she was by her own weightlessness,

 

by the way she could move in any direction?

Perhaps the novelty explains why

she forgot to turn off the stove,

 

untethered as she was to anything.

It’s a miracle she sat at the dinner table at all,

what, with the awareness that she was surrounded

 

by planets, spiral galaxies, black holes, moons. Yes,

miracle, she thought as she tasted the soup,

and noticed deep space not just around,

 

but inside her: supernovae, constellations,

interstellar dust,

the glorious, immeasurable dark.

 

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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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