Submit a Poem
Get Your Premium Membership
spacer

The Worlds in this World

Written by: Laure-Anne Bosselaar | Biography
 Doors were left open in heaven again: 
drafts wheeze, clouds wrap their ripped pages 
around roofs and trees. Like wet flags, shutters 
flap and fold. Even light is blown out of town,
its last angles caught in sopped
newspaper wings and billowing plastic — 
all this in one American street. 
 Elsewhere, somewhere, a tide 
recedes, incense is lit, an infant 
sucks from a nipple, a grenade
shrieks, a man buys his first cane. 
 Think of it: the worlds in this world. 


 Yesterday, while a Chinese woman took 
hours to sew seven silk stitches into a tapestry 
started generations ago, guards took only
seconds to mop up a cannibal’s brain from the floor 
of a Wisconsin jail, while the man who bashed 
the killer’s head found no place to hide, 
and sat sobbing for his mother in a shower stall —
the worlds in this world. 

 Or say, one year — say 1916: 
while my grandfather, a prisoner of war 
in Holland, sewed perfect, eighteen-buttoned 
booties for his wife with the skin of a dead 
dog found in a trench; shrapnel slit 
Apollinaire's skull, Jesuits brandished 
crucifixes in Ouagadougou, and the Parthenon 
was already in ruins. 
 That year, thousands and thousands of Jews 
from the Holocaust were already — were 
still ¬— busy living their lives; 
while gnawed by self-doubt, Rilke couldn’t 

write a line for weeks inVienna’s Victorgasse, 
and fishermen drowned off Finnish coasts, 
and lovers kissed for the very first time,
while in Kashmir an old woman fell asleep, 
her cheek on her good husband's belly. 

 And all along that year the winds 
kept blowing as they do today, above oceans 
and steeples, and this one speck of dust 
was lifted from somewhere to land exactly 
here, on my desk, and will lift again — into 
the worlds in this world.

 Say now, at this instant: 
one thornless rose opens in a blue jar above 
that speck, but you — reading this — know 
nothing of how it came to flower here, and I 
nothing of who bred it, or where, nothing 
of my son and daughter’s fate, of what grows 
in your garden or behind the walls of your chest: 
is it longing? Fear? Will it matter?

Listen to that wind, listen to it ranting
 The doors of heaven never close,
  that’s the Curse, that’s the Miracle.



Comments