Ceteris Paribus

Edward Sambrano III

The eye’s microscopic blind spot

Is the burnt end of a taut string

Leading straight to the brain.

Even every peripheral object

Pulls itself toward the skin

Imperceptibly, gravity

Rendering the precise identity

Of a lonesome self

Contingent on the intricate system

Of its scenery. Remove from a city

The abandoned, sunburnt spots

Of gum on sidewalks, all the leaves

Changing color then falling atop heads —

Who am I? In this hypothetical,

Consider the influence

Of all other variables but one

Negligible: the body,

As it sits in an otherwise empty theater

Sobbing, the sole loyal patron

Of evolving circumstance, its neurons

Incoherent, wanting to be everybody

At once: they’ve demonstrated kindness,

Kissed proverbial ass,

Neglected to tip waiters

Their due. A flake of snow

Exists as subdivision

Of avalanche and snowball

Simultaneously — our astounding plasticity!

Yet the eyes see only the documentary

Of their owner’s past,

Hoping an overlooked scene

Provides evidence that a frigid season

Of the coming and going of lovers,

Friends, parents, the friendly barista,

Might lead eventually, quietly, to a goldfinch

Landing in the backyard,

Picking at the summer’s grass,

Simply surviving, dim morning light

Peeking between the slats

Of windows’ cheap blinds

Revealing weightless specks

Of dust. A muscle fiber jerks, a twitch

Of the nervous system; I am a servant

To every painful and beautiful thing.

Not the stroking finger

Briefly resting over the pulse

Within a lover’s neck,

But the elasticity of an artery rebounding

From the rhythmic

Rush of blood. In this scene, I am lying

On a mattress, my body momentarily

A home.

 

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