Laura Kasischke

Cytoplasm, June

The earth, spewing forth creatures.

Creatures, running wildly down mountainsides, stampeding over prairies, streaming from their holes, and homes, frothing through rivers, into lakes—feathers, fur, skin, hair, hooves, scales, claws. And all the subtle, separate emotions endured by them—expressed by lovers, induced by drugs. Birth, pain, terror. Humiliation. The terrible dull despair of a long drive through a large state beside a spouse who has grown over the decades to hate you.

Every morning we wake tethered to this planet by a rope around the ankle. Tied fast to a pole, but also loose, without rules, in an expanding universe. Always the dream of being a child afloat in the brilliant blue of the motel pool falling away, and an old man with cancer waking up on a bed of nails. Please, don't remember me this way, the world would like to say. And yet...

This is the entirety of the lesson. The lesson you learn from loving so greatly that which hath forsaken you:

It is a very, very small lesson. But not as small as you—

You, who are both a speck of dust drifting in silence out of the sky onto its brief gauzy wing, and the passing fancy of that passing damselfly.