The Lost Country

Fall 2012 • Vol. 1, No. 1

issn 2326-5310 (online)

Xeno’s Paradox

By Maria Stromberg

This work was published in the Fall 2012 issue of The Lost Country. You may purchase a copy of this issue from us or, if you prefer, from Amazon.

Strange how two places
  can be so far apart
and yet in your heart
  they are as close
as the sea to the shore
  it washes
or the mountain to the clouds
  that veil its stony head

Like twin stars in a constellation
that seem so near
  that when they twinkle
  they seem to touch—
in reality vast distance
holds them apart
and even light
  swift messenger
traverses it with difficulty
and weary time—
even so these cities
  these homes
  these hearths
so near in my thought
as if their borders touched
are in my hard experience
  so separate from one another
that I seem trapped
in Xeno’s paradox
  cursed to travel endlessly
  and never reach the goal

Through these dense layers
  of distance
my soul reaches towards yours
  as a magnet to its fellow
and yet incapable of motion

What is this distance
  that restrains the body so
when spirit
  swift as thought
can in one moment
  be transported
  to any place it will?

From the train windows
  I scan these empty spaces
  for their meaning
and find there
  not the emptiness
  of wasted space
but link after link
  of a woven chain
that binds us as surely
  as it separates
and each link a place
as dear to someone’s heart
  as my heart’s home to me—
Here a tree
  where once two lovers kissed
  and carved their names
Here a walled-in field
  that once gave a man
  his livelihood and life
Here a hidden stream
  that was once a child’s
  stronghold and his treasure—
and as I cross these distances
  to you
between these neighbor stars
  that touch each other
  in my heart
I find a vasty space
  not of cold emptiness
but filled with starry galaxies
  too infinite to count