Day breaks as the moon rises on Everyday. Stars swirl frozen in eddies, bursting in fertile infernos as new lights wink down from a sunlit, stormy sky. An asteroid plummets and crashes into the Yucatan, barely missing the International Space Station.
Flames and dust pulse through the planet as Zenobia hurls a shoe at George W., who is choking on a pretzel. Like an errant brushstroke, the first cellular organism squiggles into being on the tip of Nina Simone’s finger. Trưng Trắc and Anacaona cut down G.I.’s at the Taj Mahal. On the barren plains of the moon, Nzinga utters the first word, a crisp clarion call, as dinosaurs perish beneath her feet.
Somewhere inside Erdogan’s moustache, Rob Schneider is crying alone again. Robert E. Lee watches Bree Newsome carry down his flag from his deathbed. Seondeok writes laws with Isabella’s bones as Vesuvius erupts in a cloud of Chanel No.5. Amanirenas defeats Columbus in battle at a guest lecture by Brahmagupta in Cidade de Deus.
Crazy Horse storms Versailles as Donald Trump wakes up naked on its kitchen floor, and dies. Comandanta Ramona is born in a supernova. Mansa Musa makes the Hajj in the presolar nebula, trailing gold in a claret-ochre cloud, and you and I are at the end of time, where we have always been.
History is not a story but a river—always present in the places it was and will be. Every evening I wake up to your eyes glinting in Jurassic dawn, to the weight of you and all the stars within you next to me. Every morning, as I hold you across hemispheres and through the eons of our former bodies, the Black Panther Party is founded, and Batista flees Cuba. Palestinians sleep on their foreparents’ land, where they’ve lived their whole lives today. Vincent Chin proposes and Philando Castile reads his daughter a bedtime story. The Warriors are always champions and Rihanna always has a new man in her swimming pool.
But, deep in your ventricles, Fat Man explodes over Nagasaki, where detainees languish for eternity in CIA black sites. Just as I am holding you, I am holding him, tasting his blood in my throat as I fill gurgling lungs with cosmic wind, only to discover the homeopathic limitations of stardust. Here I am, my body flecked in blood, hewn with barbed wire and sutured shut by land mines. My throat gurgling with oceans, my tongue split on a 38th parallel.
Every bullet ever fired ricochets in a monsoon of mourning. Every fire ever set gnaws the world down to its gleaming bones, and there is no escape. What was, is, and sustains. Time and place stain across being and fold into paper cranes.
The shadow of death is in all shades cast by the sun. We die before life and live after death, so hope can never wither. In some time and place, it is Ava Barrin’s 18th birthday, and Aiyana Stanley-Jones is playing in the park. Children in Baghdad and Kandahar have never known war, and I pay my tribute to the Ohlone Nation before visiting Harabeoji’s family in Pyongyang.
It is not too late; it’s already been done. The Impossible resides in the infinite now, in the eternity of you.
Ju-Hyun Park (he/him/his) is a gyopo essayist, storyteller, and poet. He was raised between Seoul and the San Francisco Bay Area, Occupied Ohlone Territory. Ju-Hyun received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Tufts University. He is an aspiring writer and essayist with previously published works in The Fader and Public Radio International. This is his first published work of poetry.