The whole sky in half an inch


For Tara

I am moss
growing slowly
and climbing up
rocks at catatonic
crawl. You are lightning
Splitting the ground with
proud movements. I’ve
always been ashamed
of the moments
when my subtle
is too much but
When you touch me

I explode to grow into
the whole forest. This
is like a million years
of sunlight
condensed in to a single second
like a magnifying glass airplane
right over me
like the ground is covered
in broken bottles
refracting and acting like diamonds
I’ve been

I’ve been the moss
and the rock
I’ve been sand on the bottom of a lake
been driftwood
been dead leaf been
It’s never been like this. Listen

there’s never been a painting
your light
through my leaves. Please
shining. That’s
all I need to
being moss
To start
climbing up
It’s never been like this
Trees were never ladders until
I had somewhere to meet you between
the canopy
and the sun. I’m
running up now
for the first time
and this time
It’s permanent, so
keep your light on me. Please

I never did know eyes could glisten like
yours. Like
the whole sky
in half an inch
I used to be moss
but you
the sun and moon and
the in between
have made me
than I thought I could be
have realized
the forest inside of me.

3 thoughts on “The whole sky in half an inch

  1. This is growing on me. I’ve read it a couple times and it gets better with each read. I understand what the “inspiration” was, but I’m more curious what prompted and opened up the metaphor and dichotomy of the moss/forest vs the sunlight? I’ve tried pulling the same image through some longer pieces and it becomes far to vague or overwrought, but this was really on the mark. Have you ever read Brenda Hillman’s “The Spark” or “Where You Go When She Sleeps” (I forget the author)? They’re incredible pieces that take a similar route. I guess just in case you have an interest in perfecting the art further, I highly recommend them. So as all my original comment actually meant to say, where did this idea come from again?

    1. Thank you, I’m glad the image worked out. And I will definitely look both of those poems up.

      I started writing the poem using moss because the imagery there, of slow movement and growth, seemed appropriate. Then, I tried to work on finding the antithesis of moss, which, in my mind, would be lightning. And the sun would be, I suppose, a sustained form of lightning, and a more powerful one. Which is how I ended up with the sun and moss, which also have a distinct natural relationship to work with.

      1. The “antithesis” of moss. How cool is that. Thanks for the insight, perhaps it will come in handy. I’ll start searching my world for antitheses and I might just have the next great Sieve poem.

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