2015 Rhysling Award Nominee (Long Form)

Proposition:
Hating the world
is strictly logical
when your loved one is
dying.

Proof:
You watch her neurons choke
You watch holes inside her brain grow
like blackened maws from another dimension
— oh, what endlessly wasteful multiverse! —
you watch as her brain itself shrinks
disease–riddled (or, better said, disease–irresolved
since there’s no solution to this particular puzzle)
convolutions de–convoluting
speech bubbling over into babbling
memories of how to “sit down” or “swallow”
being sat down upon and swallowed
by creeping entropy.

And you understand that each iota of her death
is nothing but diminished energy,
a loss of information,
and these things — energy and information —
you are painfully aware
must be conserved
tyrannical natural law
and so as your loved one dies
the world lives a little more
and everyone around you
and the trees and flowers
and even the lakes and mountains and red giants and white dwarfs
and the quantum space–time foam
and that neighbor who’s always smoking
leery, dangling cigarette and stained wife–beater, the one who lingers and doesn’t smile when you pick up your mail,
they all glow a little brighter
they hold hands without even knowing it,
infinitesimally enriched,
unwitting beneficiaries of her
disintegration.

And so you hate them,
you pulse with venom for them,
for how ignorant they are
regarding their own provenance,
for how they remind you
of what you no longer have
and of what they have gained — unwantingly, unknowingly —
instead.

Quantitative Implications:
You remember in time
that you too
have been enriched
by this death. By countless deaths. The elements in your body
are particles of a melody
sung by Shiva
in exploding stars
and so you do the only natural thing.

You abandon discrimination
you relent in your binary thinking
of me–versus–them
and you learn to hate yourself

with abandon and perhaps glee,
without pretense,
you are now one as them.

Unabashedly imploding
to offset all those explosions
that led
to you.

Alvaro Zinos–Amaro is co–author, with Robert Silverberg, of When the Blue Shift Comes, which received a starred review from Library Journal. Alvaro’s short fiction, reviews and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in AnalogNatureGalaxy’s EdgeStrange Horizons, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and other venues. His website is Waiting for My Aineko at myaineko.blogspot.com/.

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