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Like Darwin Among the Gods

Christmas, and the word became flesh on our scribbled, Scrabble board, an empty bottle of wine and a record strumming chords so calm in lieu of breeze or fire. "Calvinist" to your "random," with "stop" and "go" branching out, feebly, with little imagination or points. And we discuss the interconnectedness of all things, how life is tangible –

dependent on dice and chance; how the meeting of hearts is coldly decided by the lefts and the rights, the ins and the outs, of daily mundane doings. Look, a physicist is born because a young cashier has smiled at a complete and foreign stranger; had he foregone the pack of gum you say, he'd have married another woman, who'd bear a son that serves hard time –

20 years, no parole, no remorse. Watch the atoms collide at will and all the faces disappear; observe the cells dividing, for they too will reach dry land. When Reverend Tucker quotes the scriptures, he says "I ain't no ape." Show him how his sins hold fast, how he fails the Lord of mercy, how he strains at gnats – eats camels, ignores the tailbone of his ass. If I leave you, my love, at 10:03, I'll make it home in peace, write a tender song for you, how your scarlet locks are streams, flowing to and fro' in dreams. You'll be enchanted, consider my proposal, say "yes" for all it's worth.

But please, don't let me tarry, say a word or phrase ill-thought: for if I go at 10:04, I'll catch a damned red light, my car side-swiped by drunkards, my chest pinned to the wheel, legs crushed, spirit floating somewhere to a place of God's own choosing. And it is there, as Dante warned, amid the howls and shrieks of loss, I'll die a second cosmic time from a flash of what would and should have been; your breath pulsing on in bliss, the ignorance of the not-yet-dead.

Andreas Gripp

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