shrinking man who battled
the spider for cake crumbles, wielding only a needle
in that never-ending night of basement? No moon
as the story ended sobbingly for his wife and her
lake-sized tears splatting while mine sneaked
between mouthfuls of popcorn. He grew
tiny enough to step, finally, through
a square of wire screen, venturing
into a sunrise where the sun
bulged rounder and brighter,
a midge roaring overhead.
Our last sight: a staunch,
minuscule walk
toward a grass-
blade, beetle-
The sequel
is fundamentals
confiding our hero
made it: the big kid
on the molecular block,
at home in a world of excited
atoms. Galileo slurps his cola
descrying inertia. Whitman waves
wildly in the front row, flinging his hat,
a new poem coalescing in his transcendental
happiness for our littlest, boldest explorer leading
a line’s life that is really uncountable infinity, really
a trail of dots. . .and he is one, traveling on like a ray
from that unfinal morning, the real of film, like anyone
we lose from our life, matching, exactly, the pace of our grief. . . .

for J.W.

Copyright 2006,  Derek Sheffield

Nine of Derek Sheffield’s poems appear in the Winter 2005 issue of Poet Lore with a brief introduction by David Wagoner. Blue Begonia published his chapbook, A Mouthpiece of Thumbs (2000). A 2004 Artist Trust GAP recipient, Sheffield teaches English at Wenatchee Valley College. “Remember the Incredible” appears in A Mouthpiece of Thumbs.


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