There is a small hole about an eighth of an inch wide in the middle of the ball of my left foot where a rusty nail poked up from a rotten plank and pierced my sole.  I was ten. Back home in my bedroom after the trip to the doctor’s office,  I pulled off the bandage and examined my wound.  It was impressively deep. I assumed the hole would eventually close.  It didn’t.  Some holes don’t.

When the space within a circle is filled you can get something like a jelly doughnut or a polka dot.  If material is missing you get a hole, like a doughnut hole or a rabbit hole or a bullet hole. In the case of a doughnut hole, dough is missing. In the case of a rabbit hole, earth is missing.  In the case of a bullet hole, flesh is usually missing. Holes have something missing.

ome holes are metaphoric and, therefore, invisible.  For example, I have a hole in my heart from a break-up forty years ago.  The hole has something missing, in this case the sound of my name as sweetly spoken by my long-ago lover.  I suspect that I will die with this hole in my heart along with the hole in my left foot.

Our galaxy, the Milky Way, contains a supermassive hole called Sagittarius A.  It is a black hole. Sag A has the equivalent mass of four point three million suns and is calculated to have a radius of thirteen point sixty-seven million miles. Like all black holes, it contains an event horizon that marks the point at which an object moving towards the black hole must move faster than the speed of light to avoid being swallowed up by the black hole’s tremendous gravitational pull. Once the event horizon is crossed there is no turning back. It is the point of no return.

The United States Congress has 535 holes. One hundred are called Senators, 435 are called Representatives. Each has something missing, that thing being a soul. The human soul is the repository of essential human must-haves such as integrity, kindness, empathy, compassion, morality, brotherly love, sisterly love, decency and a sense of humanity.  Empty of these qualities, the soul becomes a hole. 

A soul hole can, also, be created when a soul is sold.   Soul selling is an old and accepted practice in American politics, commonplace in Congress. (It’s fair to argue that the absence of a soul is not a hole exactly, maybe more of a void,  but please humor me here). Industries, corporations and special interests such as the National Rifle Association, are all buy, buy, buy when it comes to congressional souls and they meet little resistance. Own the soul and own the man (or woman), is their motto.  And so, the American voter is stuck with a bunch of holes for a government.

In Lewis Carroll’s The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland, Alice falls down a rabbit hole and enters a strange, mixed-up reality, inhabited by nonsensical creatures, much like my country today.   When she meets the Cheshire Cat, and his creepy-too-wide grin, he matter-of-factly explains to a bewildered Alice, “We’re all mad here.“

HOLES was originally published @ karinbardarson.substack.com on 5-31-22.  This is a re-post.