Center of the Universe

Particles become atoms
become molecules
become cells
become my body.
My body
drops an egg once a month,
and this egg-releasing schedule aligns
with a rock floating in space 238,000 miles away
that we call “moon.”
I am planetary.
This must be why I push my cuticles back
to reveal a crescent moon,
why I feel the weight of the cosmos in my heart
when I think about the dogs for sale
in the pet store at the mall
who don’t get to go on outside walks.
My body is solar-powered,
but it still hurts to look the sun in the eye.
This must be why my vision goes hazy
when the security man at the mall stops us
and tells us a story about him and his daughter
being diagnosed with cancer on the exact same day.
Some pain is too bright to stare directly in the face,
but we still need to feel it.
There is the same exact percentage
of salt in my body as in the ocean.
This must be why I felt a wave of grief hit me
when I learned that the most common thing
kids ask Santa for
is a dad.
You can split an atom in half,
put one half in California and the other half in Maine,
and if you reverse the spin of its electrons
on the half in California,
the electrons on the half in Maine
will reverse their spin at the exact same moment.
This must be what we mean when we fall in love
and say, “I found my other half.”
We are all made of subatomic particles.
We are all caught in this hourglass of quicksand.
Ants build hills and we call it nature.
Humans build skyscrapers and we call it pollution.
This alone tells us what we think of human creation.
Once, I sliced my forearm open with a fishing hook
and a scar formed to pull the flesh back together,
the same way tectonic plates shift
and mountains form to fill the gap.
My flesh heals the same way the earth does,
which is to say I am made of dirt
and stardust.
Singing church hymns in cement basements
is how I know to worship.
This whole life is a basement worship service,
all lyrics and orchestra,
but I only know how to hum along.
Sometimes, I think about dogs in the mall
and a father-daughter cancer diagnoses
and kids without dads writing Santa letters.
Sometimes, I feel less like an individual
and more like the other half of a split atom.
Sometimes, I feel less like me
and more like the whole thing.
I know I’m not the center of the universe,
but sometimes when I see the crescent moon in my nail bed
I feel like the universe is at the center of me.

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