Paul Nelson

I’ve Never Dug    

black holes . . . men pursuing,
with fine instruments, things
so small, so compacted
they outweigh any galaxy,
yet get cornered as points, unconcerned
spots on an x-ray, or mathematical
places (hence true) . . . so I revere
air, even thin, between objects,
having come up short at times,   

and then there’s light, so much of it,
half my life, defining, closing and opening
light years between toys
named in passing: Luna, Venus, the Pleides,
Halley’s, Ursas, Betelgeuse . . . as if they
were islands, buoys, loves, convenient markers
for drifting, anchors for tethering dangers
best left sacred, mysterious, daft
considering the gravity

beyond the acres I ponder, have mown,
and the site where my last dog pawed leaves
and laid down to die in the shade by himself,
under the Gravenstein where I dug his grave
framed by the window beside my rocker
by the small wood fire, the hot pipe
that sucks dreams up the cosmic flue,
while I sit breathing, just breathing.

Paul Nelson, Professor of English, directed Creative Writing for Ohio University for a decade. His 9th book of poetry, Learning to Miss (Guernica Editions, 2018) and his first book of fiction, Refrigerator Church, (Tailwinds Press, 2019), are on Amazon Books. The title story and the novella from this book have each been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His honors include the AWP Award for Poetry and an Alabama University Press Selection. After two decades of wandering, he has moved back home to Maine.



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