Gris-Gris, an online journal of literature, culture & the arts

The Miracle of Life

by Alejandro Escudé

The astronomer says the Kuiper belt
Is the result of the inner planets’ gravitational pull
When they were concentrated like kids in a game of seven up
Then the sudden release of all that energy
So that now it is way out there, past Uranus and Triton,
Where Pluto is now relegated to the status of dwarf.
The scientists says it’s proof of how precarious life is on Earth.
Cheetah, Velociraptor, Mouse, and the bushtits that migrate
Like tiny buffalos with wings from one tree to another.
Can’t one think of it like a lottery ticket? No matter the odds,
One person usually wins, if not in the first drawing, then in the third or fourth,
Some lucky schmuck wakes up to a life of no work, no bills, no purpose.
Why can’t the same be said for life? If it happened once,
Even once, it can happen again—maybe it hasn’t happened yet,
But somewhere beyond the Kuiper belt
A few extraordinary circumstances have come together,
Like when I first met my wife, Jennifer, in the catholic high school,
Or go back a little ways to the day those two gang members
Climbed over the chain link of my public junior high to drag a student
Out of our class and shank him. Mrs. Haddad shrieked for the police
As all of us, my best friend, the one blonde girl I had a crush on,
Stared in disbelief as the little kid held back the blood.
The sirens came fast, as if they already knew it would happen,
As if the miracle of death was just as miraculous as the miracle of life.
Like two wandering asteroids, the two gangsters sprang out
Into the school’s expansive yard and took to the track
As if there had been some giant explosion at the beginning of it all
And nothing were holding them back, throwing up sparkling signs
With their hands as they ran further into the darkness.