My therapist and a woman I love keep telling me to bepresent so I wash last night’s dishes attentively at six-thirty this morning. Hot water steams the window view of light beginning to occupy the maple. Or permeate. Gold. Or suffuse. Locate waning moon—see that rose to indigo spectrum? It’s that planetary feeling: quirk of conscious matter in time a Mayfly sees one sunrise Drew turned fourteen broke his arm & died of Ewings in two orbits inside everything exploding between big bang and flat pool of entropy cells cluster stars in a vastation expansion out of control. Some god could be middle-aged staring at the swirl in the aquarium he filled yesterday maybe waiting for a tinder swipe trying not to start drinking yet nope it’s barely light out see? How quickly presence slips away? I’m off in speculation and being distracted I take my plate grip for granted and it slides-- white ceramic floral pattern dives flat don’t tell me time isn’t bendy because it feels like an hour watching it fall. I think of all the things I’m breaking decorum speed limits vows then it hits the tile and clanks. It just clanks and bounces and wobbles wa-wa-waaa to rest intact on the floor. Hashtag blessed. I don’t know how it didn’t break. Chemicals wash my insides I feel a sudden clean and close my eyes arms wide face the sky in relief of fate avoided but then there’s Drew in my mind the night before they amputated his arm biking one last time down the steep highway toward the river. I pick up the plate drop it again and this time I get a new universe.
-- William Stobb is the author of six poetry collections, including You Are Still Alive (42 Miles Press) and the National Poetry Series selection, Nervous Systems(Penguin). His work is forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Colorado Review, and Glacier. Stobb works on the editorial staff of Conduit and Conduit Books & Ephemera, and the creative writing faculty of the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse.