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9. The explosion cradles her gently,
weightless, so loud all is silent,
the swaddle of electric pepper
compressing like a mother’s heartbeat.

8. Is this when—

7. No, a path already woven cannot
be altered. The past has occurred,
and so has the future. She must
just be, in the here and now, every
coordinate a golden fiber in her being.

6. She traces the mistakes inscribed on
the infinite wax cylinder of the world,
ending in an ouroboric blaze of regret.

5. Here is a fantasy:
If she can truly start over, again,
she’d go back before the first hydrogen.
Before the first pings of light.
As an all-seeing god she can sheathe
the sword. Untie the knot by sending
the sheep back to pasture.

4. Knowing what happens only makes
it harder. How does Cassandra bears it,
fire pouring from her eyes nightly?

3. She realizes it now, because she has
always known, in her very name and
nature.
 
2. Antimatter is matter traveling
back in time. Our lines in spacetime
are snarled yarn. Headless. Tailless.
Death and birth the two infinite walls
we bounce between.

1. The world bares its entire self to
her from the inside out, stars upon
stars in the celestial womb.

0. “What do you mean, backwards?”


Hal Y. Zhang is a coder and lapsed physicist who splits her time between the east coast of the United States and the Internet, where she writes at halyzhang.com. Her chapbook AMNESIA is available through the Newfound Emerging Poets Series, and her collection Goddess Bandit of the Thousand Arms was published by Aqueduct Press.
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5 Dec 2022

We found you, and you alone, in a universe that had forgotten to die.
there is something queer about this intention—
In my calculus class was a man in an iridescent polo and pigeon feathers in his dark, tangled hair.
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