Taking Up Space

For a basic (one might suppose
      inherently neutral) law of physics,
the phrase has nevertheless garnered

a lion’s share of unfriendly users
      in the low-rent back roads of
the vernacular. Many among us,

in truth, would far prefer the
      virulent lash of a “Bitch!” or
a “Bastard!” to being leveled

by the contemptuous (and worse,
      dismissive) charge of taking up space.
How did this bland and unassuming 

verbal ever acquire such impressive
      heft, such a daunting capacity
for dispensing devastation?

Isn’t the knowledge—seldom consciously
      considered, to be sure—that we are
space-occupying organisms, assuredly

solid masses in an otherwise vast and
      vaporous world—a consolation of
the highest order? If we were totally

honest, could any of us (whether the
      smallest of spatial consumers or the
awesome grand-daddies of corporeal

excess), if pressed, ever willingly
      surrender our solidity?—Let our bodies
be slowly siphoned away into the ether

until there’s nothing left behind?
      No unsightly blemishes. No one fleshy
spare tire too many. No blinding and

unasked-for flash of celluloid thigh to
      offend our (rapidly waning) sensibilities.
No. Better by far to revel in our

modest allocation of earth and air, to
      prop our flip-flops proudly up on
the deck chair in front of us and lift

our faces—glorious geometry of all
      manner of matter—to the thousand
and sensual gifts of the sun.

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