M Wilder

THE NATURE OF NOTHING

i.
there are insects even a child can’t see. lying
in the grass, chin propped up on a boney arm,
not everything alive is visible.
did you know,

every atom making up matter
is basically nothing.
if the nucleus of an atom is a marble,
its electrons are half a mile away.
so maybe nothing matters.
i am mostly composed of nothing,
all negatives and positives holding this
tension. always straining
to make me solid.
(yet i am hardly anything.)
did you know,

if you took away all this emptiness, every human
on this earth would fit inside a single sugar cube.
how sweet we could become, if only we
could become something,
all the emptiness emptied out of ourselves.

i put pen to paper and write all
this void out of me, press my eyes
closer, see every fraction, every fragment of me
etched out, before i am shaken, and
before i fall apart.

  

ii.
yet the caterpillar blossomed today.
he has slept in a mason jar on the kitchen sink window-sill for weeks.
did you know,
sometimes caterpillars look dead when they are growing,
their bodies swathed in cocoon,
all crunchy october leaf still
and hardly rustled.

he broke out of himself,
wings were black and blue and shining purple,
glazed yellow. i swear
he rolled his neck and said,
"luv! don't you realize that you'll open jars and lids and doors
for every broken beautiful thing?
don't you see the way you don't throw away what you thought
was dead?
something holy comes from it.
open the window, honey.
just give it time.
i swear, you
are made of what matters.
open the window and let the light rush in. it takes
up no space. one might say it's nothing. but this
will change everything."

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