Two Meditations

Tipping Point

1.       Niagara Falls

She paused amid the kitchen to drink a glass of water; at that instant, losing a grip of fifty years, the next-room-ceiling-plaster crashed. Or he merely sat in an empty study, in March-day glare, listening to the universe rustle in his head, when suddenly the five-foot shelf let go. For ages the fault creeps secret through the rock; in a second, ledge and railings, tourists and turbines all thunder over Niagara. Which snowflake triggers the avalanche? A house explodes; a star. In your spouse, so apparently resigned, murder twitches like a fetus. At some trifling new assessment, all the colonies rebel.

2.       Lake Erie

The wisdom to recognize and halt follows the know-how to pollute past rescue. The treaty’s signed, but the cancer ticks in your bones. Until I’d murdered my father and fornicated my mother I wasn’t wise enough to see I was Oedipus. Too late now to keep the polar cap from melting. Venice subsides; South America explodes.

Let’s stab out our eyes.

Too late: our resolve is sapped beyond the brooches

John Barth
Lost in the Funhouse (1968)

Illustration: Processing program by Laura Periano: Tipping Point

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