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Parallel Universes

Parallel Universes
by Sari Krosinsky

Parallel Universes


Locking her fingers around a mug of bitter
chocolate, Connie tells me Irene has breast cancer.
“Any time I talk about the future,” she says,
“like getting dinner with my parents or cable,

Irene says, ‘If I’m still alive…’ As if
I needed reminding.” She sucks her teeth
like the thought curdled in her mouth.

Sometimes, she draws Irene as she sleeps.
When the radiation began, they marked her
under each arm with a cross in blue ink.

Connie says, “I wanted to think it meant Jesus
had his hand on her, that he’d carry her
like the crucifix. Almost.”


Jeremy got his cousin Ben for the weekend, and spends it
riding the subway from museum to museum.

Fagged and bored, Ben has given up keeping his eyes
open by the time we reach the holograph museum,
’til we get to the back, where a spinning woman
like a music box ballerina clutches a towel
to her chest, then spreads it wide as she turns away.

Ben circles the glass case, but she always revolves
just a little faster. “There’s probably a universe
where she opens the other way,” Ben says.
“I wish we were there.”

I dislike the idea of other
universes where other mes
made every choice I never did.
If I never loved, I’d still be a god.

Jeremy joins Ben’s game, taking the opposing
side, arms spread and fingers hooked sumo-style,
together orbiting the teasing holograph.
Even in his antics, he’s too beautiful.

You know what Catullus said
about beauty. I won’t sparrow
around the truth. Jeremy will die
like they all do, bees
embedding their barbs
in your exposed skin.

* * *

Sari Krosinsky edits Fickle Muses, an online journal of mythic poetry and fiction. Her poems appear regularly in literary and genre magazines. She received a B.A. in religious studies and M.A. in creative writing from the University of New Mexico. She lives in Albuquerque, N.M., with her partner and cat.

What do you think is the attraction of the fantasy genre?

Taking a step back to view this world through the lens of another can cast reality in a clearer light.