When I would ask why
milk went bad or why my teacher thought the sky was blue
when I had seen it pink and gray and green too,
or why we got sad, my mom would say—
we just can’t know on this side of eternity.
Eternity is a big word when you’re in a size three shoe
and when I tried counting by tens in school it scared me
how I could just keep going. My teacher told me to imagine
a line going both ways and never stopping. I tried
by looking at the globe in the corner spinning,
East and West wrapping the world up after finally meeting
and choking it out like that science experiment where a boy
saw how many rubber bands he could wrap around a watermelon
until it ruptured. Pink guts in the air, pink stains on our folders.
My mom wrapped my wet hair in Saturday night curlers
as she tried to explain the word cancer, a small word
to learn when you have already defined
eternity. An experiment at a science fair testing
how much our shells can hold before folding.
Eternity, finding my grandma’s red hair in the trash can,
ends neatly wrapped in rubber bands to keep from fraying.
Eternity, driving to the hospital the same Sunday
the pastor says the ground is always holy
and the bush is always burning.
Eternity, watching two lines on a vitals screen fall flat
as their ends meet, a body falling flat
instead of bursting.