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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cosmos and dog

It’s been a long supermarket night of many How Are Yous, Thank Yous, Have a Good Ones, much bagging, scanning, smiling, joking, cleaning, counting money. Thus the hours have gone, and it’s cold, black, nearly bedtime, and I am out collecting abandoned shopping carts from far corners of the parking lot. I lean into metal, crash them together, drag them along under floodlights. Things are moving, making noise, par and normal until I happen to look to the sky: The universe unfolds straight up and outward forever. It swallows earth and all its shoppers, putting our blue marble in its rightful place floating in a backwater intestine. Suddenly the cashier is gone and I am a microbe swimming in Why am I here? What is this? and How did these carts get into creation? My chain of metal keeps rolling toward the warm, glowing store, pure inertia, and I’ll soon be swallowed back into the mundane— but not before the eye of a doleful yellow retriever catches mine. He sits politely in the backseat of an idling hatchback, tilts his head. His eye blinks placidly and says: I know, huh.

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