Every day the world offers up the same secret: it’s not what we think it is; we’re not who we think we are. We’ve been distracted, acquiring and angling the furniture with its one good side to the audience, assembling a supporting cast, practicing lines, cueing the flattering lights. Heartened by rave reviews written by us, read by us, challenged by no one because shared with no one, we rehearse ever stronger entrances, exit only when dead, if then. The corpse in the right light can instruct. Stinking it stays at center stage basking, peripherally rotting, insisting on relevance, taking its bow. I sit in a car at an intersection of time and desire but also at a meeting of two roads insignificant to anyone but me and give them meaning but only to me. If the world ends today, and it will, this crossing will have existed in vain except for me. Even the girls who years ago passed on the sidewalk in the brisk breeze that blew up their skirts will not know its significance. I meant to offer something positive. A consciousness we call human, which has grown by killing rivals, makes something like sense to us of phenomena that persist whether interpreted or not. The world doesn’t need us. We don’t need it except to escape irrelevance. Every other living thing lives without the meaning we insist every living thing needs. The sun ignores us, but it torches the tops of the sycamore leaves that turn expectant faces in its direction, and only I, alone at the stop sign, sense the unseen from the seen. Half the leaves—the half not shaded by others—brighten through. And that’s all it takes. A place. The sun. My noticing. A memory. And all becomes unspeakably, regrettably dear.

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