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. Reprinted with permission of the University of California Press.