Measuring the Distance

by Penny Harter

Unroll a tape measure, stretch it
across the fabric of a day, a year.
Record the reach of the wind
or the height of corn stalks
greening in an abandoned field.

If your tape be infinite, you will
never see the end of it; if finite,
you will run out of numbers,
and clock hands will cease
their commentary.

Raise your two hands before you,
palms facing, and feel the tension
between them as you expand and
compress the invisible accordion
of your days.

Then try to measure love—love
that can leap any distance to fuse
your atoms with those of your
beloved until you resonate together,
harmonics pure as a tuning fork.

Penny Harter is published widely in journals and anthologies. Recent books include The Resonance Around Us (2013); the prizewinning One Bowl (e-chapbook, 2012); Recycling Starlight (2010); and The Night Marsh (2008). She was a featured reader at the 2010 Dodge Poetry Festival, and has won three fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts; the Mary Carolyn Davies Award from the PSA; and two residencies (January 2011; March 2015) from Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She works for the NJSCA as a visiting poet in the schools.;