Poem by Mary Ruefle

  The classroom was dark, all the desks were empty, 

and the sentence on the board was frightened to 

find itself alone. The sentence wanted someone to 

read it, the sentence thought it was a fine sentence, a 

noble, thorough sentence, perhaps a sentence of 

some importance, made of chalk dust, yes, but a sen-

tence that contained within itself a certain swirl

unlike the nebulous heart of the unknown universe, 

but if no one read it, how could it be sure? Perhaps it 

was a dull sentence and that was why everyone had 

left the room and turned out the lights. Night came, 

and the moon with it. The sentence sat on the board

and shone. It was beautiful to look at, but no one 

read it.

“A Certain Swirl” is found in Mary Ruefle‘s collection The Most of It (Wave books, 2008), available at