The National Catholic Review
Brick-thick walls, portholes, circular doors,
cold bolts to ensure you’ll stay sealed in during the plunge,
the pressure, the absence, the bends, the hanging
like a pendulum in your tiny steel room.
It will shiver your timbers.
It will shatter your self. It will look like the blue-black pit-mouth
of hell, & you won’t see or hear or smell a single earthly thing.
No street noise. No sex, sweaty & scrambling. No phone. No family.
Nothing to gratelike sandagainst your nerves,
& that’ll be okay with you,
& you’ll love your bathysphere. You’ll love the queer fish
with no eyes, nor any need for them & the creatures whose bodies
are galaxies of light. You might listen to your wristwatch ticking
in the chamber & remember how Aristotle said whosoever
delights in solitude is either a wild beast or a god,

but you’re neither. He was wrong. You’ll hate Aristotle.
You want the tremendous mystery. The ocean. God.
Want to stare it in the face. Want to feel no fear.
Quiet, so quiet. You’ll long to go deeper.
At the bottom, you hear, it’s light and clear.

Kathleen Rooney was a recipient of the Ruth Lilly Fellowship from Poetry magazine in 2003. Her first book, Reading With Oprah: The Book Club That Changed America, was published by University of Arkansas Press in 2005.

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