avalon (Insula avallonis)
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on my 30th vernal equinox, the stargazers and oracles of our city rose early to witness a mystical alignment of the sun, the moon, and the earth. for the first time in our collective memories, a solar eclipse coincided with a lunar perigee, and as the moon dipped near the earth, the sea, perhaps aching for intimacy, rushed to meet her. in their wake, the departing tides revealed a long submerged outcrop of volcanic rock.
we (including you and i) blessed ourselves with sea spray and slipped across the slick black surface of this newborn shore until we stood as supplicants before -- what? a biblical leviathan? a prehistoric missing link? we were a group of mystics not paleoarchaeologists, and we only saw what remained after the decomposition of life's ostentation, the skeletal architecture of a bare-bones cathedral with ribs serving as beams and arches, a skull for a chapel. the oldest among us picked up a handful of shattered bones, tossed them into the air with a prayer, and read the fallen pattern. the divination followed:
on my 30th vernal equinox, i stood barefoot in foaming eddies on a natural bridge of rocks and looked towards the darkened windows of a lighthouse's topmost tier, and i knew you, that strange cosmographer always with a spyglass in hand, you were there keeping vigil on the moon. i was hurrying to you with pockets full of stones, playing a game of chance. like a child picking apart a daisy while chanting, 'you love me, you love me not,' i told myself, if i reached you before the water reached me, we were meant to be; if not, then we were not, and so it was not, because mere inches from the lighthouse door -- just as the sun's shadow passed across the moon's face -- the waters swept my passage away.
at that moment i was neither where the tides had fallen nor where the tides had risen, but both. ask me how i was here and there and neither at the same time. i'd tell you that an individual is a multiplicity of universes in one. you get what i mean? how i could be both one and the other, each unaware of its parallel identity? for the sphere will curve away from any single point-of-view on its surface; that's why ships seem to vanish past the horizon.
it is not even a paradox of simultaneity, but the reality of newborn universes replacing dying universes all in an instance. for as you in your lighthouse charted cosmological loops, my carcass became a congregation of saltwater scavengers; my flesh dissolved like tissue, fuzzy and translucent at its nibbled edges, colonized by a field of undulating worms and bacteria; i became an entirely new life system, and like a lost city, i'd be later discovered, washed ashore, my remains and my story to be read by a bone oracle on the day of some other solar eclipse.
it was over. the recitation and divination done. you told me it was time to go. you told me to hurry because the tides, realizing they could not meet the moon, would rush back to us in lovelorn resignation. the water had risen to my ankles as my hand slipped from yours. you asked me why. i knew if the sea claimed me now and i was lost to you here, then somewhere else, you would be mine. was it all a game of chance? picking petals off a daisy to get to the truth bared at the center, a round face held in my palm like a tiny, prophetic moon? you told me now, exasperated, and reached your hand to me. i thought there were contradictions upon contradictions in you as well as me, and i would never know them all.
the chance occultation of orbiting bodies is insignificantly brief relative to all time; our paths crossed for only a fraction of moments, but universes collapse upon themselves at the slightest, fleeting touch of one hand upon another. this gravity is undeniable. again, you repeat, now; the tides are still closing in upon my indecision.
<--- the arthurian cycle