t’s moonrise in the space station, and again, and again, spinning as we are. The space station has water and food and metal and knobs and boxes and wire and there’s oblivion out there, around us, as it is around the planets, or perhaps not-oblivion, but dark matter, mattering, in the dark. Between them, the planets, us, the moons, the galaxies, between all the entities spinning as we are, prime numbers are holding gravity together, whether we count them or not. That’s the strangeness of matter, what matters most, is that its working, whether we observe it or not, although if observed, if you observe the quantum bondage, matter changes, not so much because we want it to, but because it has been seen. That seeing could be the difference between a wave and a particle, which is to say, the seeing, or the observing, or the counting, or not the counting, but the understanding, creates change, a discontinuous change in the what and how. I can hardly imagine it, although I can calculate it, and that is as much imagined as real and observed, if you believe in set theory, which you must, if you’re using Zermelo-Frankl’s version, which you are, which most of us are, without necessarily realizing it. Of course it doesn’t help that in theory, in Zermelo-Frankl’s set theory, some cardinal numbers can’t be proven, but of course they exist, being proven in other theories, in other sets. It’s back to that other duo Sapir-Whorf, I guess, and their belief that what you could observe was limited by the language you spoke—but I have often wondered—how then, have I seen what I cannot describe, the moonrise, as it is again, that word, “moonrise” as a symbol, eight letters, that hardly captures the event at all—it’s fragility, and perpetual reoccurrence, the color of it against the vast empty (that is matter full) and how splendid the sunlight reflects on the one side and not the other. Could you understand what I’m saying without really understanding, without feeling the same as we have felt these many moonrises, experiencing sublimity until it is as mundane as the sound of water or the memory of a thousand Tuesdays lived and forgotten? And again, and again. Perhaps. Perhaps you could understand, because you had a thought of moonrise, imagined, that is to say you let the word invoke an idea, and that idea indexed the real experience, was a sign or symbol of our feeling, this feeling, of the moonrise in the space station, spinning as we are. As you would be if you were here and not there, where-ever you are, reading this, as I write it from space (an imagined space), in my station, our station, apart.
LJ Pemberton is a writer/artist living in Los Angeles, California. Her essays, poetry, and award-winning stories have been featured in The Los Angeles Review, PANK, LEVEE, Hobart, Drunk Monkeys, VICE, The Brooklyn Rail, and elsewhere. She currently reviews fiction for Publishers Weekly and is the editor of the Bureau of Complaint.