He always paid passing attention to the coconut palms. It wasn’t that they were so attractive as to merit attention. Quite the contrary, they were remarkable ordinary as palms go. But he knew that if the drivers here didn’t get him, a ill-timed coconut leaping from a palm would be pleased to do the job. And that was just too horrid a way to go. He could see the obit: “Killed by an angry coconut whose natural gravitational journey he had the temerity to interrupt.”
She is seven, going on some much larger number.
She believes in the tooth fairy.
She believes in the scientific method.
She believes in vegetarianism and ecology.
She believes in helping her parents
and was doing so when she found
her baby teeth in a small bag in their dresser.
She no longer believes in the tooth fairy
but she does believe in economics. And physics.
She told her parents that she expected
five dollars for each tooth going forward,
or her brother would learn something
that no four-year-old ought to know.
She believes that leverage is a key
principle of physics that every child should master.
There is a reason for all things and therefore there is a reason for this although we cannot begin to fathom what that reason could possibly be, which may be reason enough, for reason has a twisted soul — now playful, now angry, now vengeful in irregular turns without warnings. The problem with seeking the reason for things is deeply hidden, and not as some imagine, that it is difficult; no, the problem is that the search for the reason has its own reason needing to be discovered and so recursively back to the Big Bang which still, to this day, has the ultimate undiscovered reason.
There will come a time in the not distant future when words will be rendered unnecessary, when thought will be freely transmissible, when distance will become a lost dimension. That day will be one of mourning, much as we mourned the death of the Underwood Champion, joined in death with the Royal Standard and a Smith Corona, and cursed IBM and Microsoft. And yet we poets will carry on, for we have always written because we have no other marketable skill.
The perigee moon hangs heavily over the city clinging to the horizon as though it wishes to flee deep into the night turning away the attention in inevitably draws. We are pulled toward it by some deeply felt force that we know we dare not question, for we must honor the moon’s secrets as we hope she will honor ours.
In the elemental scheme of things we humans are, at best, middling. We are minute in the scale of the universe, our time not even a glimmer, and as we age, time contracts, but only in the shortening forward direction. But pity the poor hydrogen-7 isotope whose life is likely over in 30 yactoseconds, absorbing the laughter of helium-5 living on average, 33 times longer, and both jealously, if ever so quickly regarding our seemingly infinite span. But lest we get complacent, there is always zirconium-96 for whom our life is but the blink of an eye, barely worth noting, a second at most in a span that could reach twenty quintillion years, so we are nothing special, save in our own eyes.
It is far less a matter of space for we have that in profusion if mostly always beyond reach, but unnecessary anyway given our pervasive fear of being alone while always trying to define our particular uniqueness. The universe has a vastness we can never hope to grasp and so we turn inward, where space is constrained, and we can imagine impenetrable borders that exist solely within the mind. But the dimension that gives rise to fear and loathing is time, for it despite its vastness, is always finite and always, in our deluded eyes shrinking as the universe expands, and we know there is a point when time becomes a deathly singularity.