Size / / /

You surf the uncertain sea of pages as you wonder what to do.

It's like standing on the waves of raked white stone in a Zen temple

garden as you wipe away a koan's mental residue. You haven't a clue

what "You are things to do" might mean as you strive to fill the ample

core of longing in your heart. Each page is like a stone, each stone

a quantum dropped into the hollows of your bones. The sound

of one hand clapping is that missing part. You are the top quark

in the particle stream blasting through your nerves, inbound

through the wiry 3D lattice wound around the cage of your bone

house, the neatly sectored golem on your screen a watermark

that stains your quantum login page. The photos there have lost

their anchors. The Partner and the Kids? Well, have some pennies

for their eyes. Nothing lasts. Those photos only mark the absentees.

Their sites are cached somewhere in archives. You've crisscrossed

the links in vain. They're gone. Get over it. You know it sounds clichéd,

but pull yourself together. Ditch the spirits in their graves and get out,

hit the town. Fill that vacuum now. These empty furnished rooms laid

out in dust. Sweep that dust away—it's nothing but exhaust—

and let the daylight in. You are topquark in this stream, you scout

the red currents that ebb and flow, you mark twain for the Boatman.

You are topquark in your quantum sea. You are here. Your choice

sets the port of call. Is this the koan, "You are things to do?" Doubt

is a useless option. There on the raked white waves in the garden

of stone, you're sure you hear it all ringing—a tiny bell's voice.




Gene van Troyer is a past editor of Portland Review and Star*Line. His poetry and fiction has appeared in Poly: New Speculative Writing, Velocities, Last Wave, Amazing Stories, Asimov's SF Magazine, The Umbral Anthology of Science Fiction Poetry, The Rhysling Anthology, Snow Monkey, Strange Horizons, and other books and journals. He also edited with Grania Davis a collection of Japanese science fiction and fantasy stories in translation: Speculative Japan: Outstanding Tales of Japanese SF/F from Kurodahan Press, and Collaborations: A Collection of Collaborative Poetry from Ravenna Press. He is a native Oregonian transplanted to semi-tropical Okinawa, Japan. He can be reached by e-mail at gevantry@nirai.ne.jp.
Current Issue
18 May 2020

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Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Anaea Lay presents Johnny Compton's “The DEATH/GRIP Challenge.”
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Issue 11 May 2020
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Issue 4 May 2020
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Issue 20 Apr 2020
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Issue 13 Apr 2020
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Issue 6 Apr 2020
By: Elizabeth Crowe
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By: Shuyi Yin
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Issue 30 Mar 2020
By: Jason P Burnham
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