by Bruce Boston

When I flipped a quarter
and it landed on its edge,
the natural and relative universe
with all its complex codes
seemed about to collapse.

Weak force, strong force,
gravity, electromagnetism:
such were the laws of probability
at their most outlandish,
which is to say... magic.

If a coin could land on edge
bicycles could go to the moon,
the Pope would bless contraception,
perpetual motion a parlor trick,
and every beggar could ride.

As I pursued this digression
the universe gave no quarter,
Brownian and blithely indifferent,
throughout the land it continued
to make its own decisions.

First published in Amazing Stories
Copyright © 1989, Bruce Boston

Sombrero Galaxy, M104

Sombrero Galaxy, M104

Bruce Boston is the author of forty books and chapbooks, including the novel Stained Glass Rain and the best-of fiction collection, Masque of Dreams. His stories and poems have appeared in hundreds of publications, including Asimov's Science Fiction, Realms of Fantasy, Weird Tales, Strange Horizons, Pedestal, Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, and the Nebula Awards Showcase. His fiction has received a Pushcart Prize and the Best of Soft SF Award. His poetry has won a record seven Rhysling Awards, a record four Asimov's Readers' Awards, and the Grand Master Award of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. He lives in Ocala, Florida, City of Trees, with his wife, writer-artist, Marge Simon.

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