Hare’s Breath

Hare’s Breath

 

We examine the toilet, hold the ball-cock up,

determine the flapper fails to fully fall.

 

We put a new one in, snip off the excess chain.

The tank fills only one-third full. We lower

 

the chain, change the settings on the dial,

flush over and over, studying the maddening

 

levels until the mechanism settles into

balance as inexplicable as this life we live,

 

machines coming on and going off, gears

spinning like dreidels on their perfectly honed

 

tips, a hair’s breadth, or hare’s breath, or hair’s

breath, the metaphor long messed up,

 

all sense of origin gone, which no doubt explains

why we’re floating, wavering, letting gallons

 

of water pass through, running up the bill.

I ask you, what volume can a hare breathe,

 

its tiny lungs pumping carroty air?  How wide

is a hair? Furthermore, by what tiny margin

 

did the quarks and leptons have to increase

over anti-quarks and anti-leptons to let matter

 

win out over anti-matter, to bring us here,

to the flushing of toilets, filling of tanks?