Glass is a state of matter somewhere between solid and liquid. Its what’s called an amorphous solid. Glass flows, just achingly slowly. Over eons. While the atoms are more organized than a liquid, they are less organized than a solid. It is not molecularly rigid. It doesn’t crystalize. The molecules will, over vast amounts of time, shift to a more organized state.
But this is not why window panes of medieval cathedrals bulge at the bottom. It is not an allegory for withstanding time, or grace, or bending with the pull of gravity. It is not a study on slow surrender. The bulge has to do with how it was made, and it would take longer than the universe has existed to reorganize itself that way.
Glass breaks. It is still just as much a victim to the entropy trapped inside of it as we are. If there is any allegory to be had, its that we too can shatter when enough force is applied. Accepting the fact that we break is more powerful than pretending we don’t.
We are fragile beings who deserve careful handling. From ourselves and others.
Time is considered the fourth dimension. A force of nature. It is also interwoven with the fabric of space, warped and wobbled by the gravity of heavy celestial objects.
Loss makes us acutely aware of the passage of time, the weight of it like water pouring over us and carrying us away.
The last time I saw my father is at a fixed point in spacetime. That moment hangs suspended, immovable, immutable, and a part of me with it. We have sped away from that point at 130 miles per second for 18 years.
We are now 73794240000 miles from the last I love you. The Milky Way flung from the singularity, inexplicably, irrevocably.
Loss leaves us separated not only by time but an unfathomable distance. My grief, our grief is the long walk back.
There are eighteen Between you and I, Times around an Unflinching sun. In that time stung With cat o’ nine tails, I have been in love twice, And three human beings Brought through me. Baby’s breath from a funeral wreath In a vase by the sink. Baby teeth from A boy who looks Just like me. In summer’s insistent Crematory, You would hate to Spectate silently While my worlds end. And If your bones could weep, If they could bleed Or fight, or if you could Throw yourself Again into the fire, You would, To save me from The Moirai. Six thousand five Hundred and seventy days Since your heart Gave out and I’ve been Pinned against The indifferent earth, Having forgotten The gravity In your voice The last time you Said you loved me. Weak force Fighting Weak force.
When you stare at the stars long enough they start to do this silly little swim. For a moment, maybe a millisecond, you believe what you’re seeing is true. Your heart jumps and you rub your eyes and you try to refocus them. What did I see? Why? Between one star and another, you see that there has been no change in distance or location. You breathe deep. You may be still, but you are always making micro movements. Your heartbeat, inhale and exhale of your lungs. Your body is a chorus of stirring. Stillness is just another state of movement. Logically you know this. But your mind keeps being dragged back to that initial feeling of belief. because it exhilarates you. Because you want to make a home in the feeling. Fires in a Black Sea swirling just for you.
Of course you want more. You always want more. so you are drawn to believe what your eyes have told your mind they see. You wait and you stare and you speak softly to yourself: “this is Arcturus.” It is fixed. A landmark. You’ve aimed telescopes and your heart toward it for years. For ages before you, there have been legends, poems, splendid things inspired by the light it gives. Eons before human existence, unseen, unloved, it never ceased it’s shimmering. 37 light years. 11 parsecs separate you. But it dances and you’re dizzy in your foolishness and love and it suddenly feels within reach. A living thing. It breathes. Maybe you’ve dipped your longing in and stirred the sky. What hubris. Van Gogh knew what I mean.
You can suddenly perceive the spinning, the roll of the earth along the path it has carved in spacetime, Falling toward the sun. And how we sail blindly. All of it. Ever expanding outward. How it has started to decay. Moving ever toward entropy, half as luminous as it was 2 billion years ago. Lights slowly going out one by one. A carnival at closing time. Your minuscule life laughably short. An iota. A grain of time.
And what if it has already collapsed in on itself? Arcturus. The guardian. The last gasps still hurdling toward us, 370,000 years late. Corpse light in a haunted sky.
Nothing lasts. Rather than being dismal, this is heartening. It elicits bravery.
I will love in full measure.
I will love in full measure when it is returned and even when none is given me.
You were more than A trail of blood, More than the fires That forged the iron in it. Weak gravity And heavy elements. Eons in the æther Before you came to me. You were more than These filaments, Proton and electron And the atoms they knit, And in that great Undying place, Where we will not Be created nor destroyed, May we one day collide And know we knew And shared The same space, Though you were barely there And I only just.
I spent a whole evening with your names. I know almost all of them by heart. Names are a sacred thing. The sound and the shape of them. I’m honored and I’m glad to know them, to be able to arrange them, to give them a place in a very important part of my life that you helped make a reality. The manuscript for Last Road is in the hands of the printer. Vodka and cranberry to celebrate. Another to toast you.
There are only 8 days left to get a copy Café Macabre II , now fully funded and working on the 5th stretch goal. My story The River, is included in this volume with accompanying art by Keyla Valerio. Café Macabre is an anthology of horror stories and art by women. Check it out here, and grab some Kickstarter goodies.
My April Ladies of horror flash fiction piece Petra’s Journey is live over at spreadingthewritersword.com. These flash fiction pieces are a fun and expressive challenge, and I am grateful for the opportunity. Hope you enjoy!
Get in the Game is a comic anthology which includes my 8 page story Under the Root, Illustrated by Emily Zelasko and lettered by Jim McClain. It’ll be available at Barnes and Noble and your local comic shop starting this Wednesday. Signed copies are also still available from my storefront here.
Last Road to the Backwoods had a smashing campaign on Kickstarter! We fully funded and then some, due to the amazing support we received. If you missed the campaign and still would like to get a copy, we have pre-orders open at my storefront here
I am still plugging away on Sylacauga. The picture above, the look on her face was the driving force behind wanting to write about the meteor event. The anthology will consist of 3 stories entitled Signs, Wonders, Miracles surrounding the fireball witnessed in the sky that eventually came to rest in Mrs. Hodges’ living room. I will be self publishing it this fall.
Thanks for reading!
“And yet it moves (E Pur Si Muove) is a phrase attributed to the Italian mathematician, physicist and philosopher Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) in 1633 after being forced to recant his claims that the Earth moves around the Sun, rather than the converse. In this context, the implication of the phrase is: despite his recantation, the Church’s proclamations to the contrary, or any other conviction or doctrine of men, the Earth does, in fact, move (around the Sun, and not vice versa)” -Wikipedia
Have you ever heard of the Shigir Idol? It’s a 17 foot wooden statue that has been carbon dated to about 12,000 years old. Roughly at the end of the last ice age. Its named for the peat bog it was found in, on the eastern slope of the Middle Ural mountains near Yekaterinburg. It’s a striking sculpture, featuring several human faces and geometric lines and shapes. After being microscopically studied, it was discovered that the Shigir Idol’s features and designs were carved with half a beaver jaw with teeth still intact.
Since reading about the Shigir idol, I’ve been running my fingers over the grooves in my mind. Over and over again, tracing the carefully carved lines, feeling the smooth wood, stopping at every angle and turn. A prayer of sorts. A map leading backward. Veins. Beckoning mountain ranges and lakes and forests. An unimpeded night sky full of constellations. I wonder if it was meant for that. I wonder if, 12,000 years ago, the people responsible for creating it could fathom my doing so? I think they did. I think they meant for us to. It feels arrogant to make assumptions. Almost sacriledge.
The face at the “head” of the idol is placid, peaceful and seems to be singing. or breathing into the cold air. Or pleading. Or any number of things. But it is undeniably human.
I think about 12,000 years in the bog. The murky dark cast about with scattered sunlight only occasionally. The moss and the rock. The sediment. The sediment that drowned and preserved it. An ancient lake gasping. A toppled giant forever asleep. Why are tears so close when I do so? Why am I so moved? Why is it so easy to feel the weight of the clay and the water?
I feel a sort of kinship with both the Shigir Idol and the artists who created it. An eternal reaching forward. Toothed beaver jaw, warm wood, calloused hands. Shaped and molded, tracks and traces, whispered truths and prayers. Nightmares and daydreams. Falling. Sinking. Turning to stone unseen. 12,000 years undreaming. Hieroglyph after hieroglyph. Surfacing in pieces. Messages and lessons in the lesions.