Nearly dead with the effort of saying nothing, I tell her, you are one gram of exotic spice in a time of cartography when a dozen lives would have ended at sea fetching favour for a queen. You are the cutting need for chisels, the impulse to etch, and the pull to put pigment to canvas. You are the stars under glass in magnified incandescence. You are sonnets, scores, and combustion engines, literature, plays, the mother of invention. You are the explorer in every heart and the dream dwelling in every mind. You are all that and evermore besides.
I keep thinking that I matter and get devastated when I don’t. I look at the stars and they say nothing to me, barely twinkle, and I realise I’m just as dead to them as their light to me. Years before I was nothing but genetic potential, years hence I’ll be naught but dust, lucky to be growing flowers from a grave. What is the use of feeling futility, why experience it or anything at all if we are simply the universe’s iterative expression of self. I keep thinking that I matter and it’s this that brings me pain.
Stardust and light poured into the shape of a woman, Arris says, ‘Sure, the dust of creation settled and compressed.’ Like diamonds, I suggest. ‘Yep. Trillions of particles forced into form and held together by luck and habit.’ I ask her what the space between is made of. ‘It is the elemental nothing opposing the desire to be something.’ Moving us like magnets. ‘Invisible repulsion.’ Attraction. ‘Compulsion,’ she says and winks. Beyond the eye of measure one star blooms and another wilts. But how did we come to be from dust? She tells me, ‘That’s a matter of time.’
Two stars collide in the centre of the universe, bow and step aside. Vagrant celestial solipsists, galaxies once so divided, now dance. In their orbits they pay homage, flung wide on vast elliptical trajectories that seperate and reconnect at predictable interstices with macrocosmic implications and minuscule variations. In this way, over time, they waltz through space, ever connected by merged purpose but coexisting merely in vicinity. Such sadly joyous manoeuvres have wrought lust and longing upon ageless energies and countless lives, leaving nebulous wakes and vast black lakes of antimatter demarcated by absences. Two stars collide with burning desire.
We fuck so hard the fittings crack and the knick knacks clatter from the mantle. Afterwards, we lay in sticky splendour and quiver in each other’s arms. I love love, you say. I too, my love, adore ardour. We lock fingers and describe each other in fine detail. You, I say, are the corona that makes sunlight special. And you, dear one, are the defiant moon in daylight. The tides shift when we kiss, something tectonic quakes, and the world is rearranged. The stars align and this time we make love. Did you feel that, we say. My love.
She’s presently living in another time. Only a mere matter of hours but seperate still from mine. I look up at the constellations and think of dilation. The farther out you go the further you stray from now. Four hundred and ninety seconds from Sol to surface, an Apollonian joke. I laugh and wonder how long it would take the sound to reach her heart, but I can’t clock the variables and the thought falls apart. Staring at our mutual stars instead, counting to infinity in my head, I take comfort knowing that, relatively speaking, we are always wed.