Lee Upton

The Story of Bigness

The bigness was right there in front of us according to the bigness although you couldn’t see the bigness.

Not even the shortness could see the bigness.

The bigness pointed over to the shortness and claimed that the shortness was not bigness.

As for the shortness, what could the shortness claim?

The shortness said the bigness was hiding shortness.

Which upset the bigness who said the shortness didn’t know anything about the bigness.

Some of us had nothing to add to the conversation; that is, we had no bigness or shortness although in the end everything had to be our business.

Which was really frustrating because bigness and shortness weren’t “in our wheelhouse,” which is an expression used, sometimes, by those who talk about bigness.

You would think bigness was in short supply the way bigness got talked about so much.

Anyway, we had to take the word of the bigness about bigness.

Even if, after a while, it all seemed small.

Then when we began to talk about the smallness we upset the bigness who usually only pointed out the shortness.

Soon nothing was confusing anymore, and that was what was strange.

We had heard it all before. The future was about bigness. But the biggest bigness was in the past and was no longer anyone’s business.

And the past appealed most to those who knew about shortness but preferred the bigness even though the bigness of the bigness was hidden and so who knew if the bigness wasn’t shortness.

The rest of us didn’t want the bigness to get in our way, but of course the bigness wanted a wall because that way the bigness could also be tallness.

“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall”:

Something never said about bigness.

Lee Upton’s most recent books are Bottle the Bottles the Bottles the Bottles from the Cleveland State University Poetry Center (2015), and The Tao of Humiliation: Stories, winner of the BOA Short Fiction Award, finalist for The Paterson Prize, and named one of the “best books of 2014” by Kirkus Reviews.