Sally Sandler

Precious Seconds

A single second ‒only one,
“one one-thousand” ‒that is all.
And in that void, a race is won,
a hawk strikes, the dove falls;
the rain begins, the drought is done,
the atom splits, the future calls.

Time enough to say, “I do,”
and seal a love against the fates,
or, beseeching, “I love you,”
regardless of the vow that breaks.
A falling star fades from view,
the night swallows fire it makes.

Cars crash, a bone breaks,
the cat jumps and milk is spilled.
In the little time that takes
the addict takes a deadly pill.
A spirit reaches open gates,
leaving dust upon the hill.

A button’s pushed, a bomb drops,
a final suture ‒healing starts.
The tiger dies when gun pops,
a muttered utterance breaks a heart.
The midwife cries, “Push, don’t stop,”
and in that time, a life embarks.

Much begins, and so much fits
within a second ‒easily.
The space inside is fathomless,
a window to eternity.

Sally Sandler is a graduate of the University of Michigan and has lived in San Diego for over
forty years. She is a docent and historian at the San Diego Botanic Garden, as well as a wife, a mother, and a grand-mother of four. Her writing is informed by those personal journeys and by a deep connection with the outdoor world.