Are We Stitches?

Tina Anton

Science tries to make sense of unknowable concepts. General relativity, dark matter, and "spooky action at a distance" are meant to bring the universe to us—make it something we can touch. Aging leaders and fresh-faced upstarts in academia all work together to bend nature toward their collective understanding. The dimensions of space, time, depth, height, and width grip us like a fist.


Outer space gets its own dimension in my tiny, untrained mind. That mysterious place so close at night spread across my sky and yet forever out of reach.


I enjoy reading peer-reviewed journal articles that break things down into numbers and graphs—looking up words in my tired dictionary every few sentences. Merriam-Webster has the universe folded within pale pages. The perfume of bibliosmia tugging at my nose when I learn.


Entropy (noun)

en·tro·py \ˈen-trə-pē\

"The degree of disorder or uncertainty in a system"


Inertia (noun)

in·er·tia \i-ˈnər-shə\

"A property of matter by which it remains at rest or in uniform motion in the same straight line unless acted upon by some external force"


Atom (noun)

at·om \ˈa-təm\

"The smallest particle of an element that can exist either alone or in combination"


Fascination ties with incomprehension.


To give my brain a break, I sit back with my hands clasped and my thoughts wandering. What machinations bring to life the backdrop of existence? I stare up at the ceiling, mouth curling into a smile as I write my own religion—an origin story for those profound things humans can barely see on the edge of our horizon.


God, for created things must have a creator, would have been bored the day she made our universe. I see in my mind's eye a middle-aged, weary woman in love with love and surrounded by pieces of other people's beautiful art. She would have wanted to create, to birth a thing that others could look on with wonder. The way she sometimes stopped mid-action to admire a modern art display that was both meaningless and everything all at once.


I imagine God would pull out that roll of black velvet fabric she got because it was half-price even if at the time she had not known it would be used to mind the stars and nebulas. She would lay it out on the living room carpet with gleaming silver scissors in hand.


God cut the sky too big. We all know that. Vast emptiness between the spinning spheroids and floating gas clouds. I imagine she must have thought they would be bigger.


We all miscalculate sometimes.


She would dig through drawers and under mountains of cardboard boxes to find the package of tiny, gleaming rainbow sequins she impulse bought one day while waiting for her Uber driver to show up. There would be too many red sequins, more than anyone could reasonably need, but she would use each one. God would stitch them in intervals across the velvet, sometimes pricking her finger and swearing loudly, sucking at the beads of red that swelled on her thumb.


Creation is such a messy business.


I imagine that she would hold up the finished material, arms held open wide, embracing the air.


Then she would frown and lean in close to inspect the piece, nose six inches from the velvet expanse. "Something is missing?" she might say, or, perhaps, she would curse and poke at the fabric in frustration with her lips pressed tightly shut.


All that color and nothing alive to enjoy it.


Her fingers would thread the embroidery needle, a thin line cutting painfully into her fingertips when she pulled the first stitch taut.


I am not creative enough to complete my own religious text. Did she breathe life into those humanoid shapes with their bodies made of thread strokes?


I carefully place my dictionary on the end table in the space between the lamp and my glasses.


A universe of precious words.


The God of my thoughts did not make quarks or baby birds or mathematics, but she keeps me wondering. Are we recycled space dust made from chaos and random chance, or are we stitches?

About the Author

Tina is a lesbian writer living in Ohio. Her photographs, poetry, prose, and artwork have been featured in various magazines including Tuna Fish Journal, The Rusty Nail, and Electric Pulp. When not writing she is usually reading, painting, or playing with her dog, Furiousa.