Poetry 2011 / Volume 42

The Endless Unknown* — Arlene L. Mandell

I stare at an illustration comparing the endless loop of infinity with
the tight construction of a paper clip.

Once again I resolve to simplify my possessions, throw away
something each day—a single sock, a dusty candle, the wrinkled
pear in the back of the refrigerator, as if this will somehow help
humanity. If I keep discarding bits, I reason illogically, one day
inspirational words will fill the emptying space, and they do, but
they’re not mine and not in English:

          mai pen lai

never mind—bitterness we hold in our throats, endless ways we’ve
been wronged, rotted tree stump of envy, jagged boulder of
shattered bliss

          mai pen lai

let it go–drop it and get on with life.

*title of a drawing on graph paper by Natasha Tibbott.

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