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Final Cut

by Saleem Peeradina

Take a sheet of paper the size of a drawing pad. The universe,

as we perceive it, must be accommodated within the borders

of this rectangle. Draw a circle the size of a marble to represent

the Earth, then hitch the moon to it. This travel companion will never

leave the Earth’s side. Now surround them with planets in their proper

 

elliptical positions. Reserve a central place for the sun. Cram the entire

backdrop with stars, thumbing in a smudge to mark the Milky Way.

Then set the whole facsimile in motion, in perpetual

rotations and revolutions.

 

But you are not done yet. Fold this sheet

to fashion an origami pigeon and release this messenger bird

into the sky. It will quickly reach a vanishing point flying among

billions of other winged creatures, each carrying its own universe.

 

If your head is spinning, try this: crumple the piece of paper

and store it in the black hole of your pocket never to be found again

by anyone.

 

There is a third alternative. Place this sheet at one end

of a panoramic screen and proceed to jump off the brink of our universe

into neighboring galaxies spiraling outward, endlessly. Shrunk, relegated

to a corner, our universe is virtually erased, leaving us adrift.

Here, far beyond imagination’s reach, infinity unravels leaving us

speechless. But seeking solace in myths will get us nowhere.

 

We have to make the journey back to reclaim the Earth. As we start to

descend and fall towards what seems like a speck of dust, it turns into a rock;

then, this enormous circular globe packed with mountains, oceans, forests, all

suspended, frozen at two ends and burning elsewhere, this jewel

of an Earth, this blue planet escorted by clouds, which has hauled its rich

load of life for millions of years, not straying from its given path,

but gliding, floating, owning this alien but familiar space, returns

 

to our side, smooth, unruffled, like the messenger bird back from its epic

pilgrimage, finding the ball of crumpled paper saved in our pocket.

 

 

 

by Saleem Peeradina, from Final Cut (£8.99, £3.99 Kindle)

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