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{All I Wanted Was Everything}

You say you know the reason why Archimedes died

tracing circles in the sand & how

you’ll go out this way,

a man too in love

with unifying


& consequence.

You say you’d stake your life

in trying to understand

why gravity, like me, crushes

& slips

through your hands,

when I’m one hundred percent

certain that we are two

points never to meet,

if you keep

trying to connect the small & large of you

& me. I could tell you why Archimedes denied

the invading hand

of a Roman solider reaching out to him,

that one last chance

to surrender

& walk behind

a new empire, as free

prisoner. I could say why a frail

thing, like gravity, must be capable

of such cruelty.

I’m putting it out there,

for you,

the human body,

as a transitory stage

for what you & I will never see.

Just billions & billions of caterpillars

or maggots

or grubs,

thinking we are life’s final & finite

destiny—thinking it’s enough that we give

live birth & bury

our dead. & I could say

one of our greatest was only digging

his own grave

because life taught him

nothing in the end. But my dear

friend, the science of survival is not a science

of discovery. & when we die, we go in


from If This Is the Age We End DiscoveryFind more by Rosebud Ben-Oni at the library

Copyright © 2021 Rosebud Ben-Oni
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

Published in Poems Rosebud Ben-Oni

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.