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A CERTAIN SWIRL
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
not 
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” appears in Mary Ruefle‘s collection The Most of It (Wave books, 2008), available at Amazon.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Ruefle‘s book Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures, was a finalist for the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism (Wave Books, 2012), and her Selected Poems (Wave Books, 2010), won the William Carlos Williams Award. Reufle has published ten other books of poetry, a book of prose (The Most of It, Wave Books, 2008), and a comic book, Go Home and Go to Bed!, (Pilot Books/Orange Table Comics, 2007); she is also an erasure artist, whose treatments of nineteenth century texts have been exhibited in museums and galleries, and include the publication of A Little White Shadow (Wave Books, 2006). Ruefle is the recipient of numerous honors, including an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and a Whiting Award. She lives in Bennington, Vermont, and teaches in the MFA program at Vermont College.