Brief notes on the end

Brief notes on the end

Brief notes on the end 1621 1080 J. David

There is a renewed theory in neuroscience that posits the existence of consciousness as particular: occurring at the atomic and subatomic levels and consisting of an assembly of parts to form what we know of as mind or mental existence. An extension of this theory concludes all forms of matter must then have some form of consciousness, sprawling across a spectrum from as rudimentary as a rock’s to as complex as a human’s.

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After it ended I imagined you watching me somewhere on a tv—a never-ending stream of each new second of my life you’d now become separate from. You’d see how kind I was being in your absence, when we’d both expect me to be the bitter type (I guess we were wrong about that). You’d see the time I would’ve given to you being spent reading poems for strangers, and drinking with strangers, and watching strangers in museums.

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Ever since the inception of a theoretical Big Bang, cosmologists and astrophysicists pondered the potential for its inverse: The Big Crunch. Where all matter and energy would begin to recede into the all they began against. This is based partly on Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and partly on the idea that gravity wins in the end.

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I imagined each new person with your face and pretended to meet you for the first time. I wouldn’t ask for a second chance, no— each imagined you was a chance to ask forgiveness. I’d find you in coffee shops, on highways, in bars. Sometimes in the place you ran fifteen miles on the treadmill while I got high in the car, or the place we spent $300 on dinner, or at night when I’d stare at the ceiling remembering where the photo of us used to hang.

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All matter and energy are recycled. Sunlight is photosynthesized and the sugar is consumed by animals and animals are consumed by themselves. The atoms that made up the first single-celled organisms have been reinstalled, even some now being part of a human’s body. Sophisticated animals that we are, we are no more than the repurposement of stardust from billions of years past, same as anything else.

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The day after you left, my life was so similar to the day before and the week before and the month before, that I didn’t miss you. I’d felt you start to pull away months ago and had long dreamed about it: myself standing in the hard Ohio rain, the dull acacia of my tongue growing sparse in a dry wind, waiting for the terrible thing to happen. In every iteration of this dream, no matter how hard I try, I never convince you to stay.

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I write a poem about an afterlife, asking if in every ending we are saved for a Final Ending. On my lowest days I choose to believe in something. Even if it is the science of impossibility.

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Tell me that you’re happy. That you’ve found peace and wish the same for me. Please can we leave the past in the box beneath the window? To stare at when it rains. I may come one day searching for forgiveness and I’ll want to see something growing.

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 If all matter has consciousness. If everything that goes out comes back. Then may we be saved for this Final Ending, where all matter and energy and consciousness meld. So I can return again. With you.

Header photograph © Elanna Conn.

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