Sometimes, honestly, I’m exhausted from all the rallying, accosted on all sides by this eternal series of events going wrong and then hanging there, the theories about whether or not it was worth it, the earth crumbling around the edges of the pot in the wrong pattern. The gray hairs, the unforeseen exhaustion. I know why the queens in those hives gorge themselves on royal jelly, quelling any minor cell’s desire to give up, to succumb to it. Her life a lengthening buzz, as much as seventy times longer than the worker bees around her. Freeze a day, multiply it, try to guess how someone else could ever know the length of your particular hour. If a queen dies unexpectedly the bees in this queenless colony will build new large and somewhat slapdash cells, to produce an “emergency queen,” who’s usually smaller, less prolific. It’s true, all the leading immortalists had fathers who died young. All started out in tech. All are men. All love the sound of never: never sag, never ache, never drag, never break. The waking always the same: the clock check, the supplement regimen, the underseasoned food. Who’d have thought living forever could be so little fun? The hyperbaric chamber out of the way, behind the couch. The mouse in the lab, crouched over, not looking as spry as you’d hoped. The slope of senescent cells, the hum of the rough knee. To be free from the minutes. Life is but a shadow: the shadow of a bird on the wing. The bird above, singing. The ringing in your ears. You walk the maze you made, you get lost in it. The time of your life is now. Now the gift and the punishment. Now the slow sand spooling out its minute knives on your hand. Now the land, stretching out like the pool that birthed you, blue and warm and boxed in, so enclosed. Mox nox. I want to add wishes. Look at my shadow and you will see your life. The youthful profile wavers in the wind, smells like dried flowers, spigelia marilandica, a hummingbird favorite. All this nightly torpor and so little rest. I would build you a nest that never unraveled. Tempus edax rerum. Lie here with me on the porch and listen to the dogs bark until the queenless beings around us begin to cement the cells that will usher in the new era, that will begin the beautiful and possible descent.