Home in the Infinite by Cherie Caswell Dost


“If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is—infinite.” –William Blake

All the straight lines and the clean edges and geometry of the world began to illuminate and vibrate, vacillate like the wings of the honeybee. The hive was fizzling, and so was the ancient question: why must the honeybee always build the hexagon? Why not some other shape, a square, a rectangle, a circle, even?

It turns out, any liquid heated to the body temperature of a tiny honeybee naturally forms a hexagon; then, an amber glass; hence, an ultra-violet window. So what is a wall of hexagonal windows but a sweetness on the tongue? What is each and every cell of the honeycomb but a doorway to Infinity?

All the world was water—the clouds, the sea, the glass—yes, then I remembered: wasn’t glass a slow-moving liquid? Only the human eye too slow to see it. But the glass itself had always revealed its secret; it reflected everything it was made of so plainly, reflected everything that was held up to it, even the human face. So, when my own reflection in the window melted, then I knew it was not just a visual aberration I was experiencing, because all the liquid in my body was also changing form–not slowing down, like the liquid of glass–but speeding up, like the liquid of light.

I grasped a coin in my pocket like I might grasp at a vine while dangling over a cliff, in desperation of a cold, metallic reality. So greedy-footed I was, in need of a floor to this great infinity.

But there is no purchase there. Just try to buy the light. Even the shadows are made of it.

Cherie Caswell Dost is happy when her pen moves across the paper. Her poetry, fiction and non-fiction have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, After Hours, White Whale Review, and she has been a regular contributor and guest host for Chicago Public Radio.