he told a lie so small
that the fabric of spacetime
tore in a corner of his one-bedroom.
he didn’t think much of it:
there it was, dishonest sliver
full of histories and futures,
pulsating with starlight.
whatever, he coughed,
straight into the eternal depths
of the hole. one day, he reached
his skinny arm into darkness,
like fishing around in a galaxy-sized
pocket. he pulled out beautiful stones
and a fingernail clipping from an ancient
teenaged hand. he felt curly hair,
shoes, dull knives, and fire.
some nights, he’d dip a toe;
the hole became a cool river,
fish streamed past his feet,
and he gently cried for all that was lost.
contrary to what teachers told him,
the lie didn’t get bigger. he did not
have to excuse it as it inflated
with more lies, more mistellings, exaggerations,
until it consumed the entire earth.
this wasn’t a black hole.
it stayed right there in the corner,
electric and deep and full.
Brendan Walsh has lived and taught in South Korea, Laos, and South Florida. His work appears in Rattle, Glass Poetry, Indianapolis Review, American Literary Review, and other journals. He is the winner of America Magazine's 2020 Foley Poetry Prize, and the author of five books, including Go (Aldrich Press), Buddha vs. Bonobo (Sutra Press), and fort lauderdale (Grey Book Press). He’s online at www.brendanwalshpoetry.com.