First Principles

In the beginning was the labyrinth.

It was the size of a continent, the inside
of a jar she carried in her shoulder
bag, swinging while she walked.

Sometimes she didn’t know it was there
but underneath everything walls
would rise, hold
up construction of new roads, and
she would reknow: it was there, she
had seen it. The labyrinth covered

everything in questions.
It opened windows to the sea
where no sea should have been.
She entered it daily.

She never wore a watch, she carried
nothing with her, sometimes she carried
her knitting, she emptied
the canvas bag at every turn
and filled it
with sand, guitar
strings, replicas of Macchu Picchu
and Neruda’s house. Nothing

was enough. The labyrinth
followed her from one edge
of the world to another.
It was all around her, like her mother’s love.
Every morning she reentered
the labyrinth from the labyrinth.
The smell of the sea that wasn’t there.
The clicking shadows of laurel trees
and their scent; she was full
without eating. Outside
were shores and straw
boats and the ends of strings leading
from the center. The jar
she carried was lighter
and lighter as the labyrinth went out into the world.

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