This week’s poem, Ellen Sander’s “Staying Still On A Moving Sphere,” the speaker contemplates storms, oceans and stars as she considers her own fallible yet wonderfully resilient human form. I love the tangibility of this poem’s hands, stardust and bones, and how gracefully its language pivots between the cosmic and the corporeal.

Sander, a poet, author, and lapsed journalist, lives in Belfast, where she was poet laureate from 2013 to 2014.

Poets, please note that submissions to Deep Water are open through the end of the year. Deep Water is especially eager to share poems by Black writers, writers of color, Indigenous writers, LGBTQ+ writers and other underrepresented voices. You’ll find a link to submit in the credits below.

Staying Still On A Moving Sphere
By Ellen Sander

A single cell that no longer exists created me,
ash left from my parents’ fire,

a piece of seaweed clinging to a rock
in the changing tide, dust, I’m told, dust from distant stars.

My open hand, so many lines, phalanges
joints, puckers and scars. I grip the doorknob, turn,

fight the light through a wetness of yesterday’s storm. Today,
grey, moist and quiet, I’m rescued by fatigue.

The refuge of being busy resolves into forgetfulness.
There is only so much I can do. No matter how I turn

it is to. Leeward, toward a ruddy dawn, this
celestial stuff spread so vast as to make meaning

meaningless. If I break in befuddlement
it is usually one of my bones, metatarsal, radial, humerus, rib.

I heal, I break, I heal.

Megan Grumbling is a poet and writer who lives in Portland. Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. “Staying Still on a Moving Sphere,” copyright 2021 by Ellen Sander, is reprinted from Hole in the Head Review. It appears by permission of the author. Submissions to Deep Water are open now and through the end of the year. For more information, go to

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