The Meaning of Distance
There’s something so shrinking about this,
hiding beneath the shadow of a sleeping moon
like I could find safetly in it, as in the moment before gravity catches hold.
Human minds get shaken by the wind so easily,
after all they’re filled with branches and flower petals.
I don’t feel very brave at night, even with the scattered stars,
and I feel even less brave in the morning, without them.
I’ve been told courage comes with light but mine clings in the shadows,
and I’ve found no amount of coaxing can bring it out.
I’ve started to wonder if all your travels have provided you with some grain of insight,
about coming and going, about the filling and emptying of space.
If they have I want to tell you that you’re having better luck than me,
for all my solitary standing in one place I’ve reached no conclusions.
You used to think of distance as a calm and ancient silence;
I always thought it was a word made up by the first person to gaze upon the ocean.
I still don’t know which one of us was right, or if anyone is,
but there’s a great deal of distance between us now, and it’s never silent.
It wasn’t until much later that I realized we were
only trying to find solace in putting meaning to the word.
Since then there are a lot of things I’ve stopped denying,
like how in the end none of this concerns either of us, how maybe it never did.
It was only a passing thought that took root in me and never let go.
Still, it proved harder to admit to myself that I didn’t mind.
There’s always been something in me
that tried to hold on even when I didn’t want to anymore,
and for a long time they contradicted without either gaining ground.
But one night I dreamt I stood beneath a rose-coloured sky
where yellow balloons were drifting up into the ether,
getting higher and higher but never seeming to get farther away.
There was another yellow balloon the size of the sun and low on the horizon;
a hand stretched out across the sky with a needle and popped it.
And when I awoke I felt the lifting weight of letting go.