Carol Bennett   © 2010 All Rights Reserved

Standing Alone on Santa Monica Pier in Love with Smallness

If the distance between the Sun and Pluto were 40 inches,

the space between the earth and moon
a single inch—

then the closest star visible to a naked eye would burn
thousands of miles away,

the length of a country, somewhere in Brooklyn.

And this is just one quarter of our galaxy,
which is one of billions,

each with billions of stars, some large enough
to blot out entire histories.

How humbling this all must be
for the potato bug, for the silk worm,

for flimsy plankton washing into a blue whale’s jaws,
life too minuscule to fathom.

                    *

There is a man
selling fresh corn dogs and soda.

From his deep fryer,
ribbons of steam curl about

his tattooed wrists, and girls,
perhaps 15 years old, giggle

as they fish through pocket books
for change. A string of seaweed

catches the barnacled posts of the pier, wrapping

like serpents around a man’s leg.
The President of the United States

stands before the country
and urges us to be brave.

A thousand species blink into darkness, the continents shift
by three inches a day.

Car radios interrupt the ocean. The sun
hangs low, a bowler hat in the sky.

 

Brian Diamond
Copyright © 2010  

Brian Diamond’s work has previously appeared in such publications as Sycamore Review, the Los Angeles Review, and 42 Opus. He is the recipient of the Wilhoit Poetry Fellowship, a one-time winner of the New Yorker cartoon contest, and is currently working on translations of the Yiddish poet Jacob Glatstein.


Table of Contents            Next Poem            Guidelines