Kay Ryan: Repulsive Theory

Little has been made   

of the soft, skirting action   

of magnets reversed,   

while much has been   

made of attraction.   

But is it not this pillowy   

principle of repulsion   

that produces the   

doily edges of oceans   

or the arabesques of thought?   

And do these cutout coasts   

and incurved rhetorical beaches   

not baffle the onslaught   

of the sea or objectionable people   

and give private life   

what small protection it's got?   

Praise then the oiled motions   

of avoidance, the pearly   

convolutions of all that   

slides off or takes a   

wide berth; praise every   

eddying vacancy of Earth,   

all the dimpled depths   

of pooling space, the whole   

swirl set up by fending-off—   

extending far beyond the personal,   

I'm convinced—   

immense and good   

in a cosmological sense:   

unpressing us against   

each other, lending   

the necessary never

to never-ending.