Another Poem: Sonder


Sometimes when my mind feels filled to the brim,
With unhappy thoughts, heavy enough to pull me down,
I close my eyes, let my mind wander around.

And see myself on my bed, eyes dead I zoom out,
Through the white painted walls that shield me from other muffled shouts,
These walls of concrete in which live dozens of other lives that now weep, laugh, scream, crowd around screens,
Till I zoom out.

See the buildings rise like rectangular hives and around them the trees that grow so low,
The green scabbed over with gray platelets; watch the hawks that nest near antennas,
Converting corners into homes.

See the brown feathered sparrows selected naturally by the smog.
The insects that roam under every nook and cranny,
The way patches of flowers bloom,
Drinking of the slice of sky between our two towering homes.
This urban ecology, this habitat crammed with so much complexity,
And still farther out I see the city,

7 million lives and a billion lights blinking,
Beetles thread through roads on water ships lines tracing,
And yet the green exceeds the artificial wonders we’ve seeded,
The creatures, the minds, the myriad eyes, I cannot conceive,
Out further till I’m looking at what we call a country.

From up here the greens, tans, the tones of life are all I need,
Scars of mountains, wisps of clouds, our gray marks made,
Our noises not loud enough to reach me.
And farther till the sky glows with the blue scattering nitrogen,
The life permitting oxygen that quickens in all our floundering cells:
Watch the curve of our home meet the black that shows through all the gaps we look up to.

Out and out from this pale blue dot, this azure god we all inhabit,
7 billion other lives and the countless stories all begun, the ones that died,
On that tiny receding light.
Till Sol beams plasma into the night,
Our star crushes, compresses, expels heat, heavy elements to breathe,
chains of carbon to plot out our farthest dreams.

And out till the solar system, with it’s gravitation, engraved upon the fabric invisible,
Causes planets to circle in the paths they etch, orbit, and maintain,
Out till we spy from the side- the milky way
How many more roving rocks encased with air might there remain?
How many more lives, so many tiny blinking eyes, so many flickering lives- might this beautiful mess contain?
300 billion more stars, spheres that shrink ours to motes, embers compared to roaring flames.
And out so far, so far, across the void where other stars, gather: 100 billion more galaxies rain,
Light across a gulf of space so vast we measure distance with time.
How many other beds hold souls, that dream, and love and hope so hard?
Thoughts that reach my standing frame, faster than light,
Brightens my mind,
Like candles kindled in the night.


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