On Dust

It is ubiquitous but hidden, until sunlight streams through a window to reveal that we are swimming in it. It swirls around and surrounds us like krill in an ocean current. We cannot escape it. It falls like rain, incessantly, until it covers everything, like silt at the bottom of a lake. The slightest movement stirs up whole galaxies of the stuff, spiral nebulae of hair follicles and skin flakes. We move from day to day, from room to room, like comets, shedding shreds and fragments in our wakes. When the light changes, though, the trail vanishes. Dust still swarms in secret onto every surface, but we can’t see it. Even what is nearest, most prolific is invisible unless properly lit.

A version of this abbreviated essay appears in the January-February issue of Ode.