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If it is true that in our universe nothing ever disappears

But is transmuted into new arrangements of neutrons, electrons, genes,

That a scientifically explicable process intervenes

Between the loss and some new incarnation

Even though we ourselves can only slowly and then not in all cases

Retrieve the names to go with the faces

Of old friends or detested colleagues, of authors and titles, of times and places

Where things happened; can the hoard we have painstakingly amassed

Be stocked somehow in bytes on floppy discs, if not to last

Forever, at least to disintegrate by successive half-lives over several millennia?

How nice it would be to believe in a collective unconscious, a kind of electronic attic

Where entropy holds no key and our chosen heirs have access.

Rather it seems more likely that our missing synapses

Will resurface as dust on a window sill, spirals in a DNA chain or interplanetary static.

COPYRIGHT 1987 Monthly Review Foundation, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Thorner, Alice
Publication:Monthly Review
Date:Dec 1, 1987
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