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In Praise of the Smallest

Let us praise the smallest things—jump rings

and the tiny springs inside pens, loose screws

found under furniture still intact, and the variety

of the smallest screws for holding eyeglass arms.


How lucky to have the engines of mitochondria

and the complex choreography of chromosomes

at mitosis, the emerald generosity of chloroplasts.


Praise sand and gravel, graupel and snowflakes,

their array in design, and their impermanence.

Consider the dust with mites and skin cells,

lily of the valley bells. Note how small bodied


birds sing loudly and early, like chickadees

and Carolina wrens. Glory be for spores, pollen,

seeds, and the bees who fly and gather particles,


don’t know that physicists say they can’t fly.

Gratitude to salt grains and pepper, dried herb

flakes that last for years. Let us protect pygmy mice

and long-tailed planigales, who only want to live.


Be grand if you’re small. A hummingbird’s eggs

are the size of Tic Tacs, nest equal to half a walnut.

The bird weighs less than a nickel. Priceless.

Joan Mazza has worked as a medical microbiologist, psychotherapist, and taught workshops nationally on understanding dreams and nightmares. She is the author of six self-help psychology books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Penguin/Putnam). Her poetry has appeared in Crab Orchard Review, The
MacGuffin, Slant, Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, The Nation, and many other publications. She lives in rural central Virginia, where she writes every day.

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