500 Words on the Inside of a Ping Pong Ball
This is a space not often contemplated
but moved violently at our whim and to the rules of flight.
As I look, I can imagine the space in there where organic molecules fly,
Looking for a way out from a serious continuity.
Is it dark inside? During the day I think not.
There is a smooth light, whitened, dull as toothache.
At night there is a black stone within, powder soft.
Travel round with me now on the inside, that eggshell curve so unnatural to a bird - nothing points the way.
Tap and try to escape, from our holy white blankness,
Into the roaring, jagged, fierceness of fractal space.
We are dimensionless in here
and bound as if by a forgotten treaty.
We are glum
and do not even nod to each other across the space within.
There is a ridge, an equator.
We are of two halves,
sealed like lips of the grim.
This line, this circle of orientation, holds promise and fuels our fantasies
of outside glamorous disasters,
of luck, and of an end to anything.
We that are without end, salute you that are without.
This is harder than I thought.
There is a tiny space to describe.
It dwarfs an ant – an ant being its opposite;
all tiny edges, limbs, decisions, and work to carry a future.
The inside of the ball lacks a voice, like an extinct race.
The inside surface would offer resistance but cannot be accessed, just out of sight.
The inside is there now, but for all time?
No, it can and will be violated.
A stamping foot crushes a demon’s smile into the roundness.
A sharp probe penetrates into the space like a death seen from the inside.
The atmosphere of the ball so punctured becomes mingled with our crowded air. Shouts and alarms reach the interior unbridled.
There is a new dawn with no separation.
This unnatural object has a manufactured odour.
An aromatic pong, acrid and alarming,
emanates from within a punctured ball.
There has been no escape since its capture
at the very moment of moulding
in that lightest of factories
in some unimagined distant land.
The world over, there are these little spaces, like in our hearts; so quiet.
Lying in drawers, out on tables, or somewhere and out of sight.
They are waiting to be taken and bounced around at our whim.
We need not be careful, there are plenty to go round: We are in control.
In the course of time, the inside smoothness might give way to a coarse hairiness. This would be so inappropriate.
It would make the ball heavier, darker, unreasonable, prone to violence, not to be trusted.
It will not happen.
There are no corners.
There is nowhere to hide.
I am running out of ideas and, looking in for inspiration, I find a small blank space behind my eyes.
I blink and we are done.