Looking up at the stars I imagine what it may be like to live a million miles away. I wonder if there is something else out there — something quite like me — on another fragment of the unknown universe, looking out into the cold and heavy void. Maybe looking for me.
Strangers, two light-years apart, akin in thought.
The stars are beautiful, but cold. Sometimes I think that they are dreams. Falling asleep, I’m convinced that a small piece of my soul — a fragment of myself — flies outside of the bedroom window and lands like a shooting star to rest alongside a foreign moon. When I wake in the morning with a dream on my tongue, I am unnameably sad. And I tell myself,
“This is a dream with clipped wings.”
Like Peter Pan’s shadow, caught between Neverland and the nightside table.
I know you’ve dreamt of falling. What would happen if your waking caught up and you met the ground? Would you, could you, feel pain? Perhaps it is not pain at all but a full-body climax. Either way it is unknowable. So much is.
Perhaps we would never wake.
Do you know how you work? Of the trillions of chemical reactions responsible for all the ways in which you are present? The way the air feels on your cheek, the rising and falling of the hairs on your arms. Low rumble of the ceiling fan thrumming its way into the back of your head. The smell of rain, and you, heavy in that chair. Independence? Impossible.
Always there is you,
a reaction in itself,
a reaction to the world.
Affect and Effect.
A great web twisting through my fingers. I can pluck the strings and watch the tremors make their way into the tangle until they disappear from my line of sight. But I must hold on to the hope that they continue. That the strings go on thrumming with the distant note of my song. My projection into the world must have meaning. Otherwise, what am I but a dust mote on the lip of God?
If I think too much about the timeless shifting of gears, the timeless decay and renewal of the organic, I feel afraid. Always, always, there is beyond. Insignificance in the grand scheme — the smallest of players on a chessboard that doesn’t meet the horizon.
Fleeting, transient. Oh! The brevity of you.
Someday you will be something quite different, and in that case …
Oh! The endless cessations of you.
Ripples casting themselves across a pond make waves for the ant dipping its toes in the sand.
Untapped, untamed, the wildness of instinct. Impossible to prevent the twitch of the eye at a whisper in the dark. The untrammeled unconsciousness stretches before and behind us, wave after wave: small disturbances on the surface of what seems to be miles and miles of deep water.
I fear the part of the lake that is colder and darker. Shadows pressing up against my legs, pale green against the sunken below. I fear what I do not know and believe that fear to be instinctual. So I slice my arms through the water to come back to shore, trembling and small against the sand and rock.
Sometimes though, I dive down deep, deep, deeper until I feel my heart beating in my throat. And then I will open my eyes. Fuzzy green, weightless in a watery limbo. I wonder that this must be how forever feels. Vision blurs, and panic-stricken I rise towards the wavering light above. Breathe and my lungs fill. Above me blue. Above blue, stars.
An unknown below,
An unknown above.
But here, there is me. In between, wondering.
Contact Aliya Haas Blinman at [email protected].