Moving Stuff Around


(“Moving Stuff Around” first appeared in Line of Advance in May 2015)




At first, you only move the air in and out.

But then, you move milk.

The milk changes and you move it into your diapers.

You move some blocks on top of other blocks.

You move your bicycle up and down the street.

You move the clothes you wear to school and back.

You move them into the washer and into the dryer

and back onto your body for a road trip.

You move the petroleum into the tank

and you move tons of metal and rubber and glass

down the highway.

You’re lucky and

you get a job as a train engineer or a truck driver or an airline pilot.

You’re really moving stuff around now.

Millions of tons that you move and move and move.

You move her body.

Her body moves iron and oxygen and nutrients into the new part of her body.

You move your kids into the car and move them to piano and karate and to school.

Eventually, they move away to another town where

they keep moving food onto plates and plates into sinks

and onto racks and onto shelves and

back onto the counter where they

move more food onto them.

Later, you move the spoon.

The spoon helps you move the canned soup

into your face so you can move the broth

into your kidneys and out in a halting stream.

At the end, you only move the air in and out.

You move the oxygen in and carbon dioxide out.

Maybe you move the air or maybe a machine helps you.

Maybe the air is moving you.

Maybe you’re being breathed.

Maybe the atmosphere is moving your ribcage in and out.

They move you into the ground or an incinerator.

Your calories move into the dirt or the sky.

Some people will move water out of their eyes.


About Eric Chandler

Husband. Father. Pilot. Cross Country Skier. Writer. Author of Outside Duluth and Down In It.
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