Eternity Lives in A Second

September 23, 2017

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
seas unswum
deserts without footprints
meadows without bodies in grass
expanses of untouched tundra
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. 

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