In the moment Lives Between Time
met a human named Hermelinda,
an anthill, shorn by lawnmower blades,
bore its labyrinthine belly
to the hot Dallas summer.
Hermelinda watched ants worry
over their broken home,
unaware that one soldier stood
on her bare foot, poised to bite.
Lives Between Time wondered
how Hermelinda would react
when nature punished her curiosity.
Would she crush the tunnels
and their engineers
beneath a rock?
The spirit stepped into the moment
fifteen minutes after the bite,
wherein Hermelinda still crouched
beside the anthill,
a red welt on her big toe,
patiently observing the ants
carry larvae, their future, to safety.
Lives Between Time believed
Hermelinda, though human, could appreciate
the immutable, the timeless,
the universe sliced and exposed piece by piece.
In the moment Hermelinda
turned away from troubled ants
because she should get home,
eat supper, and water her fern,
a hand parted the world and
guided her to the place between
two pieces of one second divided
until it cannot be divided again.
“Am I dead?” she asked.
“Is this the world as I left it?”
Hermelinda marveled at a pedestrian
poised mid-step, his
hair swept by an interrupted breeze.
A single black strand was suspended above the rest,
but the lone gray filament behind his ear
seemed more defiant than its leaping fellow.
“Not dead,” the spirit said.
“In our state,
you may observe and appreciate,
but nothing will change
the moments around us.
Though we lost momentum,
there remains plenty to explore.
We can flip through existence.
Witness history unfurl,
beginning at the molten Hadean spark
when Earth first breathed
to this Phanerozoic day.
Watch your ancestors map the stars.
Visit distant planets:
gargantuan, wobbling spheres,
alien oceans between ice and stone.”
“Tempting,” Hermelinda said,
“but I have witnessed greater wonders
in our universe
and its eagerness to change.
Let your weight collide with mine,
with anthills and ferns.
Tell me Hadean stories over supper.
The spirit hoped,
curiosity would be rewarded.
Through moment after moment after moment,
two adventurers together
“What is your name?” Hermelinda asked.
Lives Between Time said, “Lives.”
This poem is for my mother ❤