by Richard Schiffman
Don’t think big.
Angels dancing on the head of a pin.
Who knows how many.
Eternity in the palm of my hand.
Poems not tomes.
Because life is short. Because short
is sweet. Don’t bother
counting the angels. One would be
enough. Or none.
Who needs angels
when every mote of dust
tumbling down a corridor of light,
when every word, or wafting moth
rings its bell like the sun.
Who needs bells
when this neural ringing
in my ear is the music of the spheres.
For just as the sperm navigates
the fallopian straits to the ovum,
and the quark pops up both here, there
and on the far side of Cassiopeia,
just as God squeezed himself into
one trillionth part of a grain
of sand before the Big Bang–
I too am a creature of compression.
Bang quark to neutrino,
bang sperm to ovum
and the neural ringing will go on
and on. Until this poem
ends, the angels dance off their pin,
the moth ventures
too close to the sun, Eternity returns
from the far side of Cassiopeia.
Or God busts out
of His trillionth of a grain.
From there on out, all bets are off.
Richard Schiffman is a writer based in New York, and a former journalist for National Public Radio. His work has appeared or is upcoming in Poetry East, Potomac Review, Southern Poetry Review, 32 Poems, Rosebud, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and many other journals.
Poem © 2010 Richard Schiffman. All other content copyright © 2010 Abyss & Apex Publishing.
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