Sagan’s Nightmare

When a speck exists in the universe

and infinity intrudes into your head

without fanfare,

without import,

and you know that you are the speck,

it is hard to drive the post into the ground

between you and someone else.


When the earth rumbles

and your anxiety rumbles too,

it’s hard to delineate the differences

between myself and between you.


When I walk out into the street

and the throngs and crowds are like swarms

of people dying to

drink some coffee, or make some impact

upon the other throngs and swarms,

one is easily amused

by the futile desperation

to influence me,

to influence you,

to walk upon the concrete

that will easily confuse

the dirt.


To think you can diffuse

the tension then, the tension now–

to think the heat inside the dome

that constitutes your skull

or the big wide world

will blister me–

Spare me, please– don’t be so dull.


We’ve been through this

again and again

Upside-down, and around

and around again.


Lying on your twin-sized bed,

staring at the ceiling

filled with asbestos and muffled sobs

crying that sometimes you wish you were dead,

you realize

you are the speck.

You are the swarm.

You are the throngs of crowds and crowds of people

moving steadily along.

–Janni Raychuk

Janni’s favorite hobby is writing. If you want to contact her, do so at

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