Two Poems By Byron López Ellington

The World Is a Comma

Rhyme ‘twixt reason and truth ‘twixt treason
Lies within honesty and farming off-season

Greatnesses small and minutiae lot
Masters of all with knowledge of naught

The facts of life are found in great fiction
And the greatest speakers often lack diction

Cooling the air just moves the heat
And winning one fight means later defeat

All empires claim that they won’t fall ever
But we all know they can’t last forever

All systems break and all systems crumble
All fortifications succumb to the rumble

Time takes all and yet more it makes
Glaciers today, tomorrow are lakes

Volcanoes destroy, yet they fertilize the earth
And the richest men feel no self-worth

Rivers grow and deltas thin
The underdog is destined to win

Fires can be doused but water not burned,
Just heated and heated ‘til to steam it is turned

Whats become whos and whos become whys
He who never fails as well never tries

A detective might find not a single clue
While happenstance brings one right out of the blue

Why is life free when it too can be lost?
Why has it that burden, that terrible cost?

The quintessential question is the meaning of life
The goodness and joy amidst all the strife

Sentences end in a full stop
But the world is a comma,

And the bottom of the circle soon becomes the top...
Ode to the Painter

often I envision a stunning scene of trees
or a dreamlike substance to a world at the seams
or a terror in the night beyond the human scope
or a battle of the blade, where steel may elope

all this and more I try to capture with my tongue and pen
but words are laughable in the face of what has been
expressed by the brush and palette in the painter’s hands
for our mind is less than our senses demand

with the mind we speak and write about emotion
mere words can sink and float the mighty ocean
but the planet only turns in response to creation
the planet only turns by the artist’s declaration

no metaphor could accurately describe the sky
that a painter creates with hand and eye
no verse could parse the complex scenery
nor the artist’s grasp of sprawling greenery

words are small and that’s okay
but for a moment in the night or day
take a breath to see wonders old and new
take a breath and witness marvels through and through

Byron López Ellington is an 18-year-old mestizo writer. He loves bread and cheese and loves his cats even more (for different reasons). Starting fall 2022, he is a student of creative writing and Spanish at the University of Iowa. You can find more of his work at

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