I once gazed at two suns twirl amid their heated winds, mutual pulls yanking each other in an epochal dance. Floating towards Sol, I remember sailing solar flares and dancing on seas of flame, diving into its divine sphere, swimming through celestial fires pounding out blinding power newly blasted every moment. Inside the vibrant, spherical lake, deafening sounds of fission blew droning bell notes in my ears. I wondered if I was in the presence of God, engulfed in the heart of globular plasma. I barreled outside, silence engulfing me as I rose above the expansive landscape of pure, beautiful fury. A horizon of rage and chaos inconceivably vast and wide. The epic line of blinding white cut across an oppressive black infinity.

I smiled on moons with atmospheres thick enough to crawl through, laying on my back atop clouds, gazing at a purple sky as electricity screamed through mist. I once awoke from a suspended slumber in nothingness, where I watched suns eaten by black holes. Sugar cubes with swirling tails of liquid gulped down the drain. I spent eons meditating on comets, jumping into ice tails sheared off their frozen sphere, splaying out into space by solar wind blasting ice boulders.


I now barely notice if my eyes are open or shut. Nothing changes beyond darkness. When I closed them on sunbathed earth, I would at least see molecules swim across my retinas. Even when I laid down at night to sleep, I could see silhouettes in the darkest rooms. I am a fetus in the womb, every few thousand years remembering I exist, no birth in my future to release me.

I discovered the contours of the universe’s logical bones, working tirelessly until existence laid across green chalk, populated with white numbers and dashes. I stood back and looked at reality’s skeleton jotted out on the board, making me weep in awe. I ferreted out the gears of reality and cheated it, subverting its plan of my own ephemerality. But in my quest of understanding the skeleton, I never experienced its flesh. I, who achieved total knowledge of it, never felt its skin.

Now I float. Now I hang in the dark. At times, I think maybe my existence alone gives our universe meaning. One cognizant being drifting along, able to remember it. I don’t care, though. I don’t care if I give the universe meaning; I don’t care that I understand. I despise this insanity.

Atlas of the unending. I forever float in the infinite black.

Stephen Prather



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