This light is all I’ve ever known. One star. The furious mother of form. The dust of us flung out from a dot. Noble gases beget such ignoble children. But here we are, the dancing ants beneath the curved lens of time. Surrounded by it. Sunshine and the carbon cycle and their mechanized creation of things. Endless interchangeable parts. The seemingly irrefutable evidence of reflection. As if a sliver in the spectrum of light was itself god. As if the eyes of the body were the monarchs of truth, the WYSIWYG world of mass hallucination with the word as gospel and the photograph as proof. Kilroy was here. Machu Picchu and the walls of Lascaux. Ninety-million selfies per second per second. The hall of mirror balls and the geographies of skin. The entire Earth covered in snow, the tiny crystalline wonders that appear, each, as a singular miraculous masterpiece of ice sculpture, but are, of course only brief phenomenons of gravity. It’s all water. And it all returns.
I stand above twenty pools of reflections. I. The thing I call I. Skewed, stretched, distorted. Each pool a tiny world, a tiny globe whose depth determines the plane of a meniscus, where another version of a man bends toward the center of the Earth with an astonished eye. And there, too, within those pools I see the white dot that is the sun, hovering over my shoulder, that source of light that seems so convincingly the source of life. And I am tethered to it, the reflection I have so long known as I. That skin over those bones covered in that hair and arranged just so, that I appear semi-unique among the other penguins on the beach. Oh look, it’s me again. Hello. You’re still here I see. With your familiar sloughing vestiges. Phew. The daily affirmation you’re not dead. All it takes is a pane of glass or a undisturbed puddle. Even just a blurred version or a silhouette is enough. Fine detail doesn’t matter so much anymore. The ravages of time counteract that whole effect. It’s better to see in the smallest possible meniscus. I’m still here in this weird body. That seems to be enough. It is the pinch-test in the dream.