Is There Distance in This Bowl?

Is There Distance in This Bowl?

This morning I started filling the animals’ water bowl.
Nearly empty—of water anyway, not air—it “needed”
To be filled. Surely, Gus will come and lick the last remnant
And this time try to dig into it as he does his food bowl
Or the compromised soil of our suburban backyard.

Two small pink patches of mold (I suppose) colonized
The exponentially quick curvature where the basin
Climbs quickly to the rim. A film of—
I’m not sure—calcium carbonate or alien algae—
Or both—clung to the steep metallic walls.

As anyone who loves their dogs and cats would,
I quickly washed the bowl in the sink
With warm water, soap, and scrub brush.
The water swirls as I abrade and scour.
A corona of light shines bright from the rising
Sun’s rays coming through the kitchen’s eastern window.

There is some allegory here about
The trajectory of the Anthropocene,
Extinction and (dis)connection,
A part and apart, away and a way,
In this tiny novel ecosystem.

I fill the bowl one quarter with cold water
And place it on the floor where Alastor,
Our tiny striped Tom, stared at me
With his saucer eyes.


During COVID-19, I am writing poems about my experience of distance—near or far—from/with myself, from/with other people, and from/with the web of life.

About the Artist

Peter Buck,  Centre County
Published:  April 29, 2020