Imagining the Heat Death of the Universe While Holding My First-Born Nibbling

by Annie Goold
Hildegard of Bingen once depicted genesis as a diamond in the sky
containing souls to be born. A comet’s tail guides
the soul into the belly of a woman lying like a drape
of creeping rosemary in an oval vignette. Is it possible
to relay well enough the coming wounding of living, 
to hold together another’s trials still and clear before them
within their early days like a mosquito full
of prehistoric blood waiting in amber, piqued for both
flight and fury? Ducklings are sometimes born
in owl holes, forcing them upon hatching to drop 
eighteen feet to the forest floor like a base jumper 
without a parachute. But you don’t need
metaphor to see the animal that you are. Afterall, 
you can hold yourself up, clinging by a sapien
instinct inside your miniscule yet fully formed hands. But Dante
got it right, I think, so know that if you hold
your legs to your chest while fallen 
in an iced lake, you’ll keep warm. Know, too, 
it’s okay to call for rescue.

About the author

Annie Goold is a writer from a small farm in rural Illinois. She graduated from Cornell University with an MFA in poetry in 2017. Her work has been featured in Matter, Electric Literature, GASHER Journal, and elsewhere. She lives and writes in Urbana, Illinois. Find out more at

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