This is your universe

by Nariman Youssef

You wake up every morning and you hope.
Or turn to a warm body beside you.
Or pray to no one in particular.

This is living
at its most essential.
Bared down
to a shelter,
a meal of bread and time,
a book by candle light,
a perpetual scraping together,
survival
of loneliness or a bomb
that grinds to dust
the house across the street.

To the absence of panic,
the drawing of the next breath
again,
the fullness of nothing,
or love,
which is to say,
the necessity of faith in the reality of what is impossible
with or without a god.

One day you walk,
alone with an hour to spare,
past a dozen empty streets,
and stop at the sea.

Peace is the quiet you do not question.
Freedom is to take your shoes off
now.
Possibility is a stillness that equates
your being
with the salt in the air.

You spread your arms to cover
the solid land behind you.
Everything
you will ever lose
is here.

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