artwork: ralph murre
by Karl Elder
With both hands a small boy holds a ball of string so big it
doesn’t occur to him there are two ends, so far from him is the
center. It is only after the string is tied to the kite, the ball growing
smaller—yet, with each glance, more vivid—that he can predict
a beginning, the nothing the sphere is wound around.
So it is that somewhere between boy and man he is made
to understand that the atom, too, is hollow, and therefore the
universe. He comes to see that this is how his life will go, that
the string, unwinding so fast, which at the very last he was unable
to hold, had nothing to do with a beginning or an end, but—like
the makings of the sphere—everything to do with both.
~ previously published in Wisconsin Poetry Transactions