Displacement Activity by Emma Lee

Jul 10, 2023
A pebble dropped
will displace
its own volume of water.
Observers, concerned only
with measuring volume,
don’t care about the separated
water or the guilt of the pebble.

On social media, someone posts a detailed
home-school schedule, house-keeping tips,
recipes, and links to educational videos.

Another pebble is added,
more water is displaced,
not as much as the first
time, although the pebbles
are the same size. The water
tries to cover both.

If you don’t come out of this quarantine
with 1) a new skill, 2) your side hustle started,
3) more knowledge; you lacked discipline.

A third is dropped in.
The water cannot cover
all three pebbles and retreats.
Observers walk away, blame
the experiment for failing
rather than accept the water
should have been replenished.

We are not water.
Some are bereft.
Some will not emerge.


Emma Lee’s publications include The Significance of a Dress (Arachne, 2020) and Ghosts in the Desert (IDP, 2015). She co-edited Over Land, Over Sea (Five Leaves, 2015), was Reviews Editor for The Blue Nib, reviews for magazines, and blogs at https://emmalee1.wordpress.com.

Twitter @Emma_Lee1

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