3 Poems


I lifted a single stray atom from the carpet.
I placed it in a candy dish with billions of other stray atoms.

The atom did not really wish to socialize.
The atom did not really wish to swap electrons.

I think of the candy dish as being full of tiny, tiny caviar.
I think of the candy dish as being full of the smallest M&Ms.

I realized I never asked a single atom in my dish
for identification or birth certificate to prove citizenship.

I realized I never meant for them to get close
and form complex molecules or spit neutrinos onto my walls.

Some days they emitted a pine scent that freshened the air.
Some days they tried to break static electricity like a bucking bronco.

This candy dish became the center of my life one summer.
I know you think me boring.


I thought the sky was open.
I was afraid I would fall up into the void.

I held on to my chair all the harder.
Gravity held on to my chair about the same as always.

Gravity reached up and shut the sky,
then let go of my chair and I rose toward the clouds.

The clouds are not a glass ceiling.
The sky is not a glass ceiling either.

I dedicated myself to getting back down to earth.
I meant for my chair to descend with me.

Gravity’s mother told Gravity to stop teasing me.
Gravity reeled me down gently as if I and my chair were on a string.

The chair and myself landed eighteen feet two inches
from where we started when Gravity let go.

At the equator the earth rotates
fifteen hundred nine feet per second.

I calculated gravity let go of me and my chair
for point zero one one nine seconds, but it felt like forever.


For a terrifying half a year
the phone rang every instant

just before someone in the world died
and reported the emergency to me.

Five minutes into the first day
there were too many funerals to arrange.

The oak tree out front broke and crashed to the ground
overburdened by too many red ribbons.

I wondered if Death read
all the newly deceased’s books from the bookmark to end.

My ignored tea turned tepid.
A mouse scampered off with my scone.

The enormity of the wake I must prepare
hit my meager checking account with the national debt.

all 3 poems copyright © 2018 Kenneth P. Gurney



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