December 2, 2002 by Juliana Spahr

As it happens every night, beloveds, while we turned 
    in the night

sleeping uneasily the world went on without us.

We live in our own time zone and there are only a small
    million of

us in this time zone and the world as a result has a
    tendency to

begin and end without us.

While we turned sleeping uneasily at least ten were
    injured in a

bomb blast in Bombay and four killed in Palestine.

While we turned sleeping uneasily a warehouse of
    food aid was

destroyed, stocks on upbeat sales soared, Australia
    threatened first

strikes, there was heavy gunfire in the city of Man,
    the Belarus

ambassador to Japan went missing, a cruise ship
    caught fire, on yet

another cruise ship many got sick, and the pope
    made a statement

against xenophobia.

While we turned sleeping uneasily perhaps J Lo
    gave Ben a

prenuptial demand for sex four times a week.

While we turned sleeping uneasily Liam Gallagher
    brawled and

irate fans complained that "Popstars: The Rivals"
    was fixed.

While we turned sleeping uneasily the Supreme Court
    agreed to

hear the case of whether university admissions
    may favor racial minorities.

While we turned sleeping uneasily poachers caught
    sturgeon in the

reed-filled Caspian, which shelters boar and wolves,
    and some of

the residents on the space shuttle planned a return
    flight to the US.

Beloveds, our world is small and isolated.

We live our lives in six hundred square feet about
    a quarter mile

from the shore on land that is seven hundred square
    miles and five

thousand miles from the nearest land mass.

Despite our isolation, there is no escape from the
    news of how

many days are left in the Iraq inspections.

The news poll for today was should we invade Iraq
    now or should

we wait until the inspections are complete and we
    tried to laugh

together at this question but our laughter was
    uneasy and we just

decided to turn off the television that arrives
    to us from those

other time zones.

Beloveds, we do not know how to live our lives with
    any agency

outside of our bed.

It makes me angry that how we live in our bed—full
    of connected

loving and full of isolated sleep and dreaming
    also—has no

relevance to the rest of the world.

How can the power of our combination of intimacy
    and isolation

have so little power outside the space of our bed?

Beloveds, the shuttle is set to return home and
    out the window of

the shuttle one can see the earth.

"How massive the earth is; how minute the atmosphere,"
    one of

the astronauts notes.

Beloveds, what do we do but keep breathing as best
    we can this

minute atmosphere?
Copyright © 2005 by Juliana Spahr. From This Connection of Everyone with Lungs: Poems.
%d bloggers like this: