Suppose, I ask my friend

nothing has ever happened in this or that or any other or maybe too damn many parallel universes? Or say nothing whatsoever matters but matter? About 5% of the observable universe as it happens — depending on your take or pull on string theory, cosmic bangs, dark matter, exotic matter, or just how many glasses of pinot noir you’ve had with your steak and baked potato physics. Well, afterall, you still eat your dinner, don’t you, give or shag the cosmic (un)surety of things? Even if barbecueded red meat doesn’t kill you (not accounting for the butter/sour-creamed baked potato & waaay too much salt on everything). Ok, the antioxidant steamed broccoli was good for you at least/well/maybe. So, given we all eventually fall into some theo-philosophil black hole larger than a renaissance cathedral what’s to make of alien abductions or other such probings into the universe out there, or even in here (pointing to his head)? My friend, who’s presently a dinner guest, then says, wry-as chunky-blue-cheese-dressing-over-his-arugula-and-anchovy-salad: Hell, it’s all gotta be fine see, because God, He/She/It/The-Holy-Other/Flying-Spaghetti-Monster had to have invented steak & potatoes as well as broccoli way back in the Original Edenic Organic Garden; butter and sour cream being a variant of cow, more or less. The French you’ll recall from your long-ago college language course even call potatoes pomme de terre, ‘apples of the earth.’ Well, pommes definitely must be at least as healthy for you as, say, the Original Organic Garden’s knowledge of good and whatever the apple that snake said to eat, right? Yeah, I say, not quite comforted, but sipping thoughtfully my own 3rd. glass of pinot. Nonetheless-sure-ok, I say finally, reflecting deeply: Only if your cosmology’s a fricking Escher painting. Really, some answers are enough to make you wry yourself to death.

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Ed Higgins poems and short fiction have appeared in Commonweal, Monkeybicycle, Otoliths, Duck & Herring Co.’s Pocket Field Guide, Pindeldyboz, and Bellowing Ark, as well as the online journals CrossConnect, Word Riot, The Hiss Quarterly, Blue Print Review, Tattoo Highway, and The Centrifugal Eye, among others. He and his wife live on a small farm in Yamhill with a menagerie of animals including an emu named To & Fro and a barn cat named Velcro. Ed teaches creative writing and literature at George Fox University, south of Portland, OR.