• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 11
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Red Shift

Months are moths round a tealight, all hope and smoke on a beachside veranda. It’s later than it looks, and I fiddle with my tax returns, counting and recounting as I singe receipts at their edges so they look like maps or manuscripts, or a pack of arcane playing cards discovered on the first manned mission to Mars. We were looking for ice and microbes, but found instead abandoned casinos with glitzy chandeliers and red baize tablecloths, a roulette wheel still spinning through at least six dimensions. Flashing bandits dispensed dreams like stars in small denominations, and all drinks were free. We returned with jars of moths and monsters, fire-red planets buried in our eyes; and although it was sealed tight in a conspiracy of silence, I add interplanetary travel to the column marked Expenses Incurred, and write off all debts for another million years. It feels like October, but the tide is scribing impossible dates on the sand and returning months are ashes in a waxy saucer.