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I find crumbs on the floor,
in the kitchen,
5 am,
my feet bare.
I find the electricity bill
(seconds and minutes and hours
of our washing machine washing
and the cat sits to watch
with eyes the secret affair of night and honey)
the bill crumpled with crumbs in the creases
and flour everywhere on the floor.

I doubt my English so bad
my tongue switches flour for floor flour for floor.

I know those crumbs,
not from the bread we eat.
Those crumbs
are remnants of stillborn universes,
bad choices, bad sets of parameters,
of over- or underdone apple pies,
before the emergence of life,
before the astrobiologist's birth.

What if I step on one of them?
The pang of a crumb, the tang of a doubt, in my toe.

I follow the crumbs,
with my eyes only.
Their trail leads where,
in the gap between the white wall
and the dark side of the fridge,
not even cat-wide,
where aspirations go
(become a writer an astronomer a mother an explorer),
and cannot turn around,
and evolve into spider legs and fears,
and I sit to cry.

Florence Lenaers is a physics PhD student from Belgium. She devises plots populated with atoms and laser beams, while always on the lookout for an etymological journey. This is her first published piece. She tweets as @flloaers.
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15 Jul 2024

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