Lynne Potts

A Sense of Empty

Stuffing a planet in your pocket, what would you

find about time, or the time you didn’t own a pocket;

also, the vast empty of what we can’t keep in mind

like this morning’s snow as if it could capture a sense

of space, lost time or anything except what’s cobbled

from other snow falls, fraught moments, like the time

I stole cereal from the Benson General Store for Emmy

which was also a kind of empty, but not what gets

described with mathematics as space dimensions.

I read a book once that said human history could be told

as a sequence of invented drinks: beer, wine, whisky, tea,

coffee, and Coke—Coke being the greatest deviation

from the nature but you can’t tell where to draw the line

between nature or what’s made up, like the quark nobody’s

seen with a naked eye or how theft could make sense.

Beer was discovered when barley was left in a vat

catching water, somebody tasting it with that empty-pocket

feeling like a mother in a row of Benson General cereal.

Who can put it all together—the sympathetic, the synthetic,

the analytic and the peculiar way things evolve in time

and space, the links between drinks, as beer is to Coke.

You probably read books too and like me, doubt that a single

moral standard exists. You know space does, but you’re

not sure where, in the end, it empties which is what you feel

when you’re off into a winter snow by yourself and you

think you know snow, common as your coat pocket but

then it melts to the empty you never know what to do about.

First published in The Southern Review