The Spaces Between
What insistent whispering crowds out sleep?
It coats me like pollen, buoys me against
the weight of daylight, points to the spaces
between things. When I press my fingertips
together, diamonds appear. Between tree limbs,
stairs spiral skyward. Below birds’ wings,
above pages in books, a sky bowl catches light
and our hope for overflow.
Between pebbles in the garden, a seed,
architect’s plans scrolled and tucked away.
Trapped light waits to climb the stairs
and unfurl. Everywhere the geometry
of branchings. In darkness tree roots
coil over and under each other, fortified
tenfold by their interlacing,
like fingers praying.
The numbers of the body do not lie.
Oneness loves itself into symmetry,
mirrors of arms and legs ending in the surprise
of fives. Between the singing of our skeletons,
the fountain of dead-seeming bones.
We forget where blood is born.
And if every bone fits into its rightful joint,
what is the skull’s socket?
When we press our bodies together,
a raft bobs between two blues.
Sun and full moon seesaw at the edges
of the world. Streaked shavings fall,
float into the middle, where we always
want to be. Even in extremity,
when we fall out of the between, we keep
saving each other, over and over.
from The Irresistible In-Between, Deerbrook Editions 2012
David Sloan is a teacher and a scholar of Waldorf teaching, not only instructing high school students in English and literature at the school in Maine but teaching seminars to new faculty in New Hampshire. His life is pretty much consumed by his relationships at home and at work, and this is reflected in his verse. This poem above is one of my favorites though it does not fit into his books usual topic of family, all his verse shows his command and love of language.
A graduate of the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast
MFA Poetry Program, David Sloan loves living in Maine “at
the edge of the world” with his wife Christine; they both work
in Maine’s only Waldorf high school. He is the author of two
books on teaching: Stages of Imagination: Working Dramatically
with Adolescents, and Life Lessons: Reaching Teenagers through
Literature. His poetry has appeared most recently in The
Barefoot Review, The Broome Review, The Café Review, Carpe
Articulum, Innisfree, The Naugatuck River Review, The Northern
New England Review, Passager, The Prairie Wolf Press Review
and Words and Images. He is a recipient of the 2012 Betsy Sholl
and Maine Literary awards, and was recently nominated for a