The Tinies by Ralph Culver

The Tinies
—for Thomas Lux

Bless them, bless them,
the tinies:
sipping a drop of tea from an acorn cap,
changing a flat on a Lego car
the color of daffodils—

how I love them, the tinies,
always on the lookout for
the blind foot, the mouse
sozzled and reeling from the meat
of a turned apple.

This one digs down
through her handbag:
one pea-skin.
“Do you have the keys, Harry?”

The tinies, the tinies,
who will care for them?
Who will help paint their living rooms
with a blueberry?
Who can possibly tie their shoes
if they hurt their fingers?

The tinies skip stones in the birdbath,
set sail across a swimming pool
with a week’s worth of provisions,
meticulously catalogued….

Oh, you tinies,
who will protect you?
Danger is a storm the size of a hat,
death waits in the black thread
of shadow that trails
from a needle of grass—

and yet, and yet,
they know
it is a world of joy,
these tinies,
large as it is,
large as it is.

by Ralph Culver, first published in Bateau.

Editor’s Note: The narrative imagery of this poem draws the reader into an unexpectedly small world where one learns that perspective makes huge all of our preconceptions.


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