An enterprising chooser of the slain
Thought to select him: not Death,
As he had feared, but surely Her bondsman
Therefore to stay and fight
Among the bright blades, his own way.
Haber agreed readily; Nobel was relieved
To see the wounds spring back healed
Each night, all forgiven at the feast.
They had seen sad-eyed warriors before. Robert,
Chewing his pipestem, nerves still jangled
Despite the end of breath, declined.
Was knowledge, hardest won war,
To fragment and fail every nightfall? No,
Time’s arrow was too dear. And he
Had stood shoulder to shoulder once
With Teller and LeMay, on order’s side.
Never again. The valkyrie frowned: but then
Would he oppose the einherjar?
Would his black holes draw him in
To the swirl of chaos one last time,
To join the Jotuns at Ragnarok? Again no:
The battles of the world remain
But not for this mind’s devising.
Neither entropy’s soldier nor its foe
But grieving witness to the final fission.
Marissa Lingen is still recovering from her physics education. She writes speculative fiction, poetry, and essays, mostly in her home in the Minneapolis suburbs even before all of this. She likes Moomins and tisanes immoderately and has read more sagas than a person really should.