As I pick the paw paw from the tree,
the slow ripples in the bark remind me
of certain religiosities
It is strange how conversations about sin
rarely overlap with conversations
about the physics involved
in harvesting fruit. To me,
gravity is a moral inspiration, the way
it pulls on the smallest particle of dust
with the same vigor it employs
when reaching for the paw paw.
The universe, on the other hand,
is scamming us all. It’s not expanding;
it’s falling toward nowhere.
Hard to blame it. Being clever
is exhausting. I am just one speck, but still
I watch the tree limb bend toward me
like a miracle is happening
even though my hand is on the branch.
You and I are living in the space the hot star gases
made for themselves and all we can do is mash
ourselves into each other one fist at a time
The wailing fox that stalks itself in the woods behind my house
attempts to give me advice:
Do not let adversity make you feel special, it says
Do not let your petals pave the way for rotten fruit
It reminds me of the gases dying in the stars and their
elemental corpses, which line the universe like lipstick.
Then it tries to tell me that Gravity is a spasm in the lumbar spine
of stellar history; I wail back No, it is the anger we feel
because everything is leaving us!
Oh my, how the disbelief is visible
in the custard of the fox’s fur (it shares
a certain glamour
with the face you wear
after I offer you the salted drops of rain that fall
from the secrets you keep), but hey,
I am not a scientist, I am just someone
who cannot fly. And
my knuckles hurt
as I think of how far away you will be
when the universe is finally perfect.
Philip Jason’s stories can be found in Prairie Schooner, The Pinch, Mid-American Review, Ninth Letter, and J Journal; his poetry in Spillway, Lake Effect, Hawaii Pacific Review, Pallette and Indianapolis Review. He is the author of the novel Window Eyes (Unsolicited Press, 2023). His first collection of poetry, I Don’t Understand Why It’s Crazy to Hear the Beautiful Songs of Nonexistent Birds, is forthcoming from Fernwood Press. For more, please visit philipjason.com.