Space: A Poem

I’m fascinated by the concept that our freedom lies in space.

Not as in another galaxy in space, but rather the space between a stimulus—a word spoken to help or hurt, a punch thrown to protect or punish, a kiss planted to betroth or betray—and our response.

Now, space is really nothing more than a dot, a hollow dot. A pregnant, transparent pause. That space (or dot) may occupy a heartbeat or a fortnight, a lunchtime or a lifetime. This got me thinking that perhaps:

  • We have more influence on the dot’s girth than we think.
  • A mindful breath can transform a brewing negative response into a heartfelt connection.
  • A mindful breath may be all the response we choose.

A few Christmases ago, my husband and I were decorating our eight-foot-tall tree. Giddy to bejewel our artificial evergreen, I opened the box of our favorite set of ornaments: eight slender glass drops, iridescent and delicate with three descending bubbles that resolve in a thin hollow tube. An alchemist’s icicle. Jeff’s beloved late grandmother gave us these ornaments.

As I rolled the first one out of the box, it slipped out of my fingers and landed with a “tink, crack” on our wooden floor.

We stared at the ornament, the tip of its icicle severed off.


“Oh, I’m so sorry, hon,” I said.

[We paused. I’m expecting an upbraiding for my dunce-y digits.]

My husband pursed his lips, contracted them to one side and slowly shrugged his shoulders. Memories of his grandmother thinking, tinkling in his mind, no doubt. He pulled another ornament from the box and continued decorating the tree.

While I was relieved, I couldn’t bear to dispose the corpse of the glass ornament. So, I squirreled it away in a small box buried in my basement. I resurrected it this week to create a necklace. I gave the hollow ornament space in a necklace called Space.

How interesting it is to view space—silence, breath, solitude—as power.

How will I use my space?

How will you use yours?

Can one cherish something she cannot see? Cannot touch or hold?

While beholding space: an empty dance floor, a blank piece of paper, a hollow bowl, a deep question, I’m reminded to claim the power of my space. For isn’t it most delightful to consider the infinite possibilities the world, or a moment, holds?

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