"In the grand scheme of things," she used to say,
     "it really isn't going to make much of a difference."
     By which, of course, she meant that she just
     didn't give a shit about my problems,
     but you can't come right out and say that.

It makes you seem ill-mannered and self-centered
     and a bit of an idiot, so she narrowed her eyes
     meaningfully, cocked her head, said what
     she said, and stared at me so as to suggest
     that she was wise, and I was not.

And I agree, yes, that in the grand scheme of things,
     it doesn't make a bit of difference, but if we're
     going to take the long view of things, nothing means
     anything. In one thousand years, I will just be beginning
     to be dead. Eventually, the world is going to be sucked

into an enormous black hole, and that will just be
     the start of eternity, and in the grand scheme of things,
     nothing really ever matters, but since I'm here now,
     and this is my life, I think I'll pay attention to all those niggling
     things that never seemed to make a bit of difference to her.

John Brantingham

About the poet: John Brantingham's collection East of Los Angeles was published by Anaphora Press and his first short story collection, Let Us All Pray Now to Our Own Strange Gods, is forthcoming from World Parade Books. He has had hundreds of poems and stories published in magazines in America and England such as Tears in the Fence, The Interpreter's House, Pearl, Confrontation, and The Journal. He is one of two fiction editors a The Chiron Review and the fiction editor for the newly formed Spout Hill Press. He was recently featured on Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac and he has been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes.