Once, I was as large
as any living creature could be.
I could lift the world and carry it
from my breast to its bath.
When I looked down from the sky
you could see the love in my eye:
"Oh, tiny world, if anything
ever happened to you, I would die."
And I said, "No!" to the hand. Snatched
the pebble from the mouth, fished it out
and told the world it would choke!
Warned the world over & over! "Do
you hear me? Do you want to choke?!"
But how was the world to know
what the truth might be? Perhaps
they grant you special powers, these
choking stones. Maybe
they change the child into a god, all-swallowing.
For, clearly, there were other gods.
The world could see
that I, too, was at the mercy of something.
Sure, I could point to the sky
and say its name, but I couldn't make it change.
Some days it was blue, true, but others
were ruined by its gray:
"I'm sorry, little world —
no picnic, no parade, no swimming pool today ... "
And the skinned knee in spite of me.
And why else would there be
such terror in the way she screamed, and the horn honking,
and the squealing wheels, and, afterward, her cold
sweat against my cheek?
Ah, she wants us to live forever.
It's her weakness ... Now I see!
But, once, I was larger
than any other being —
larger, perhaps, than any being
had any right to be.
Because, of course, eventually, the world
grew larger, and larger, until it could lift
me up and put me down anywhere
it pleased. Until, finally, I would need
its help to move the bird bath, the book-
shelf, the filing cabinet. "And
could you put my desk by the window, sweetie?"
A truck, two men, one of them my son, and
everything I ever owned, and they
didn't even want to stop for lunch.
Even the freezer. Even the piano.
("You can have it if you can move it.")
But, once, I swear, I was ... And now
this trunk in the attic to prove it:
These shoes in the palm of my hand?
You used to wear them on your feet.
This blanket the size of a hand towel?
I used to wrap it around you sleeping
in my arms like this. See? This
is how small the world used to be when
everything else in the world was me.