Once, while lying on a beach up north
in California, I saw a whale’s spout,
an explosion of released water,
a trumpet’s blurt blasting from underneath the thick blue carpet of Pacific Ocean,
a quick glimpse—a firefly’s blink-flash,
the blinding orb of sunlight
reflecting off metal—of worlds out of reach, of what we don’t know
here on the flat, hard surface,
the mysterious bodies and lives
completely unlike ours, their existence
so foreign, so separate from our own,
how each of our travels are private
and singular, a million fine threads
weaving over and under one another.
It should make me feel less alone,
more connected to some hum, the hive
of living, grateful to share in such a thing,
as when I catch sight of a meteor—
an honor to see this stardust
burn up, evidence of a limitless universe—but there again, I’ve made it about me,
when this whole poem was supposed to prove that nothing is about us at all.
Jeanine DeRusha teaches English at Manchester Community College in Connecticut. She holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Washington and has been published in several literary journals, including Puerto del Sol, American Literary Review, Crab Orchard Review, and Prairie Schooner (forthcoming).