by Karl Elder

A Life

With both hands a small boy holds a ball of string so big it
doesn't occur to him there are two ends, so far from him is the
center. It is only after the string is tied to the kite, the ball growing
smaller-yet, with each glance, more vivid-that he can predict a
beginning, the nothing the sphere is wound around.

So it is that somewhere between boy and man he is made to
understand that the atom, too, is hollow, and therefore the universe.
He comes to see that this is how his life will go, that the string
unwinding so fast, which at the very last he was unable to hold, had
nothing to do with a beginning or an end, but-like the makings of
the sphere-everything to do with both.

from A Man in Pieces. Originally appeared in High Plains Literary Review.