Literary Orphans

Go Around One More Time by Elizabeth Brown


On the third loop:

What about the divine?

Must be some purpose.
We are too complex.

You give an analogy—marbles dropped into a maze.

(Rain hits the windshield in fat drops)

Over time the physical structure of the maze alters to accommodate the marbles in the same way we adapt.

(Red light and sun on North Main, rainbow forms a quarter mile up and over LaSalle shops)

There are multiples of you and me trying out every possible scenario in multiple universes, you add.

Cool, I say, trying to imagine being more than me in this moment.

We started as bacteria.

(Green light)
Why? To what end? I ask.

(Biker, sleek, sweaty, strong muscular calves crosses last minute)

No reason, you say.

(Rail-thin woman, hunched and shuffling, toting a Whole Foods bag, adjusts her pants)
But there must be a purpose, I insist, my words loosening fibers in an old hem.
No, you say. It just is.
What about an origin, the why, the spiritual?

(Bus stop bench, black man smoking, blows it out edgy, Asian woman, 20ish, small framed, short purple hair; dazed, indifferent)

We started as bacteria or some virus that formed and evolved.

What about miracles?


Positive energy…maybe.

Nearing end of third loop.

(Intersection, two teenage girls saunter, your age maybe, flipping long hair, long legged, laughing, short shorts, hair the color of fine sand)

But actually, you add, it’s possible to combine religion and science like in the movie, Interstellar. Remember that movie?
I didn’t get it.


(Last traffic light, horn bleeps)

It’s all a space time continuum thing, you say, as if you’re done with me, as if you’ve exhausted all possibilities to get me to understand. And I’m back there, at Fern and Albany and Main, imagining why there are so many of me doing the same thing in different ways. I can’t see it.

Okay (you continue) do you feel safe in the dark?

No. I close my eyes.

Right. You adapt to the dark.
So that’s why we’ve always relied on the notion of a God— to feel safe.

Left turn, the only way you’ll enter, down a short hill, veer right, to home.

O Typekey Divider

Elizabeth Brown is a native of Connecticut and has short fiction and poetry published in Literary Orphans, Sleet, Pithead Chapel, Gravel, Sleet, The Milo Review, Bartleby Snopes, HelloHorror and elsewhere. She is currently at work on multiple projects, one being a novel.


O Typekey Divider

–Art by Barbara Florczyk