“Measuring Entropy”

Published in The Literati Quarterly (October 2015). 

Measuring Entropy

Nathan will sometimes, without warning or reason, perfectly recall a specific someone from his boyhood—a pear-shaped man with thick glasses and a deep voice, a scientist-cum-librarian who led Nathan’s middle school field trip around the NASA Headquarters Library—explaining that a telescope essentially makes your eyes bigger while bringing things closer, magnifying the pupil and the amount of light it can absorb and thus revealing things one could never see before. When Nathan returned home from that field trip—scuffing his feet up the sidewalk to his grey brick apartment building—his mother was staring silently out a kitchen window, coats were missing from the hallway closet, and in his bedroom Nathan found a note in an unsealed envelope assuring him that his father would “be back to visit soon.” When Nathan remembers it all now—walking those marbled corridors of scientific data, the pitch of excitement in the librarian’s voice, finding his mother holding the same cup of cold coffee and staring out the same window the next morning—Nathan imagines himself aiming his old Amateur Astronaut telescope at his father in the days before, the lenses warping his pupils larger and larger—diameters increasing exponentially, opening up big enough to fit a man inside and simultaneously pushing his vision closer, past fine lines around his father’s eyes, a hint of stubble about to emerge, inside and through the minute weave of his sport coat—Nathan’s vision getting him so near so fast that he makes contact, goes right down into and through the skin, deeper and deeper—finding beneath his father’s calloused outermost layers the sacred warmth of an atrium, ventricle, aorta—until tiny implosions fuse atomic connections so strong that his father would have had no choice but to take Nathan along when he left.

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