Eternity Lives in A Second
I was in San Marcos La Laguna on Lake Atitlán in Guatemala during the earthquake on the evening of September 7, 2017, when I wrote this.
I was far from the epicenter, and so, very fortunate.
Many prayers and much love to all those seriously affected in Mexico, by both the first and second earthquakes. You are in my heart and my thoughts.
Eternity Lives in a Second
Eternity lives in a second the poet knows it to be so and tonight the earth shook for 80 eternities more than in 10 years say those who count years and the shakes inside of them
in my corner of the world beneath the clothing line the rain poured on me as I stood outside in my soft boot slippers having run into the night afraid of the falling the way only buildings do
this celestial planet she’s reminded me before she is always shifting beneath what we call ground beneath what we swear steady she too floats in the air anchored by nothing but her own illusion of gravity inside of something else’s field
I wondered in that moment standing in the grass looking at the trembling sky feeling the drops of rain surfing the supple sway of dirt what I would say and what I would miss and what would matter if now was my last eternity if this was eternity
and as stillness returns beneath rain which is no stillness at all only if you’re fooled I thought this really this -
I won’t care about the places I did not go I won’t lament the things I did not taste I won’t worry about the shape I never had I won’t worry about words I did not write I won’t regret the projects I did not finish or even the ones I never began not even the great idea that died silently in its warm, embryonic fluid while waiting and hoping for a life outside in the big, wide world
I won’t wish I’d done more that I’d made some kind of mark on the skin of time carved initials in his tree I can let all that go fall away to forgone and disappear to dust
but what if you were to tell me this— there were passageways of you you never walked down there were callings from within you silenced along the way there were doors beyond your doors you never dared to open there were clothes worn on your skin you never stripped off there were words on your lips you swallowed unspoken there were moments to awaken you walked through asleep there was love you longed to know and would not name
there were distances and depths you never sunk into and seas unswum deserts without footprints meadows without bodies in grass expanses of untouched tundra within inside this landscape of you there was more of you alive than you allowed to live while you withheld
this I would care about this would matter to me in my soft boot slippers beneath the drops of rain amidst 80 eternities I would like to remember this, always but especially when the earth appears still and unshaken and too settled to stir up again... "Eternity Lives in a Second" originally published in elephant journal on Sept 11, 2017.