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the edge of the screen



when i was young, my father brought me to the beach
to watch the colors cycle. for a long time i gazed
across the blue grid of the ocean, to where it vanished
at the edge of the screen.

finally i turned to my father.
"daddy," i asked,
"what's out there?
what's past the edge of the screen?"

many minutes he was quiet. at last, he said,
"some say there is another world, one where sprites are not
chased through mazes or shot at, and in that place
dwells a wise and benevolent being, who watches

and guides us. it is paradise, and sprites who have lived good lives
may go there after their time has passed." "is that where mommy is?"
i asked. but my father stayed silent,
his clear blue pixels dark and distant as the sea.

i am no longer a child.
my father is gone, struck from below by a white dart.
now i sit alone on the brown-black tiles of the beach
looking out at that threshold which offers no answers.

if there is someone out there, watching and guiding,
then i do not think he is wise or benevolent -
that he guides our lives with a careless hand,
as though he sees our suffering as

no more than a game.




   11/18/2006