by David B. Prather
—a trillionth of a billionth of a second, or
a decimal point followed by 70 zeroes and a 1
Contrary to reason, everything
gets smaller. The house no longer
holds my every breath. My father’s soul
shrinks in his body, the last few crumbs
of mercy. It’s been reported that time
is shattered further, a glass bottle
broken over and over to dust,
then atoms, then particles of collision
and theory. If I keep dividing the space
between my father and me, I will never arrive.
Maybe I can stretch time the same way
if I experience each moment.
But even a moment is too long. It must be
torn down to its infinitesimal parts,
so I could stay there forever, whatever
that may be. How can the universe keep
expanding, giving us more room
to explore? And tons of dust fall
through the atmosphere to add mass
to the earth, which causes a heaviness
I cannot get out from under. Out from under,
a salamander wriggles from the shadow
of one rock to the shadow of another.
The shadow of my father.
For no reason I can think, I waste
even the smallest pieces of time.
David B. Prather (he/him) is a bipolar, Appalachian poet living in Parkersburg, WV, where he occasionally struts and frets upon the stage at the Actors Guild of Parkersburg community theater.
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