The Size of it.


Tongue fidgets against fingertip,
teeth graze the nail you ripped
while unwrapping the cake you released from the freezer.

You have to wait to eat the cake.
Meanwhile, you’ll fix the jagged nail the easy way.
Your teeth grip it, tear it free.
You spit out the shard
which lands on the knee of your jeans.
You pick it up,
examine this brittle bit of you;
this dead clipping,

my mother made this;
if not for my mother, I would not be.

Yet you flick it away like dross;
this slim grating born of the ecstasy of creation;
this small sliver, this souvenir foreshadowed
by squeeze and grunt of delivery.

The word ‘size’ reminds you
of the sight from the porthole of a giant
winged crate high in the sky,
where cloud concealed whole countries below,
yet cleared to reveal
a bland mass of distant desert.

Long before you stepped
from the plane in Mumba,  you were stunned
by the expanse of the globe.

Unmeasurable grains of sand,
deepest seas where strange creatures swim and fight,
minerals, mountains and clamouring cities,
trees, fleas, bees and diverse mysteries
of all sizes. Millions of years,
millions of designs of dry cement and wet sentience
surfacing, existing, sliding into history,
civilizations replaced, to be swept away
by atmosphere, madness and accident.
Fresh animal passions, plans,
every mutation of emergency, miracle and mistake
circuitously played out
on each square mile
of this seething planet.

While you muse,
your teeth absently chew your skin.
Sensing a metallic tang, you check your fingertip.
Blood pools near the cuticle.
Something hurts,
but you cannot
locate the pain.

Word of the Day Challenge: Emergency

©Jane Paterson Basil


28 thoughts on “The Size of it.

              1. It’s not just the UK. He’s lesser known, for some mysterious reason. If my guy weren’t such a major Beatles buff I never would have heard about Nilsson.
                I love him, and I think you and I have overlapping taste in music, so you should definitely listen to some of his original stuff. There’s a documentary about him called “Who is Harry Nilsson and Why is Everybody Talking About Him?” which is worth checking out.

                Liked by 1 person

  1. The whole world in a grain of sand or a thumbnail shard, we are so wired for vigilance, anxiety can seem overwhelming, poignant words;

    Something hurts,
    but you cannot
    locate the pain.

    In training as a physician we used to wryly comment how busy the hangnail cases kept us on emergency call (that has never actually happened btw), but nevertheless it made me smile to see the word challenge was “emergency”
    Keep poeting Jane. Poeting May definitely not be a word, but heck, why not?

    Liked by 2 people

          1. Use in a sentence… We were having a Moeting Meeting to stop our Moping. Hmmm I dunno, in any event I think they are more likely to rescind my poetic license over this than yours. Mine already has three corners snipped off of it, so I am already on thin ice a bit. But you, my friend are in like flint 🙂
            Anyway Jane, why don’t you join us on dVerse Open Link Night tonight? I so want the gang there to read you. You can link any poem of yours. Just post a poem, link up on the “Mister Linky” thing at the bottom of the dVerse page, and join in. Here is the link

            No pressure, these are nice folks. And thank you for your kind words about “Blood” that really has meant a lot to me.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. You don’t know your own talent, Lona. there’s no way your poetry licence is getting revoked.

              I have a feeling I read your message too late to post. I’ve been meaning to link up with dVerse, but issues in my personal life keep drawing me away. I’m having trouble even thinking straight, but I’ll get to dVerse somehow. I will x

              Liked by 1 person

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