Concept


Here is the big thing and here is the little thing
the big thing encounters.  The clock radio crows
some mid-period Prince. The curtain
blows into the room
like the cape of a departing hero
even though the window is painted shut. Good
morning.  The big thing encounters
the little thing.  What “extra time”?
What “kiss”? It is possible to make out the sound
of the filament in the light overhead, sighing
at a sprint which is one way to understand
burning.  There may be a loaf of bread
just baked, some urgency seems to move
from room to room, some urgency at work
in the big thing
although also completely divorced
from it and still also
clicking and buzzing in the little thing.  
What calls out to us when we are the big thing
to take the little thing and discover
how quickly we may separate the little thing
from its urgent curiosities?
The big thing spins and the little thing
tries to push back the sheets.  The big thing
tries to push back the sheets and the little thing
nods antennae like drumsticks during
an ostentatiously quiet solo.  The big thing
nods its antennae and the little thing
does something so little the notion of time
lifts like a skiff of fluff on the wind,
like the kiss of a weathered postcard glimpsed
briefly—Some afternoons seem to burn
right through the roof, the filaments in the sky
pressing hard overhead.  The house where I grew up
survives fitfully in these reaching fragments,  
where I ran my hands over such beautiful little things
even as something big I still don’t understand
kept happening.


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Marc McKee is the author of What Apocalypse?, Fuse, and Bewilderness. His work appears in or is forthcoming from Conduit, Copper Nickel, Forklift, Ohio, Memorious, Sixth Finch, and Southern Indiana Review. He teaches at the University of Missouri at Columbia, where he lives his wife Camellia Cosgray and their son, Harold.