Sunday, July 2, 2023

The Back Window

Irrelevant unless you left
It open, the car’s back window,
Now that the hot day is setting.

How much is meaning, how much is
Significant, not meaningful?
Think of all the anxieties

You’ve known, most long since forgotten.
It’s easy to confuse meaning
With importance. How important

Could a parked car’s open window
Be, compared to an invasion,
A revolution, a backlash?

Some of this is nothing but scale—
The confined are less important.
If murder reaches massacre,

Massacre reaches genocide,
Genocide blooms apocalypse,
Murder grows more significant.

But consult your historians,
Those terrible prophets who prove
That knowing the past doesn’t help

Hardly with knowing the future.
At the vastest scales—
Of importance, significance—

Meaning becomes, if anything,
More impossible to assign.
But at the level of a life,

A single life lost, that meaning
Fastens the nucleus tightly
Shut against the meaningless storms.

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