There is a crease in my sleeve where the upper half tapers to meet the lower half.  Where does this crease come from?  What is its cause, its prime mover, its prima causa?  What does it say, interpret?  What does it prophecy?

The crease curves like a thoughtless smile – a lobotomous grin – around the inside of my arm where the shirt bunches due to the slight tension in my biceps that draw in on the tendon that pull up on the radius in my forearm.  The exact angle between my arms is unknown but could be measured, I suppose, to give a number to the joint between upper and lower – superior and inferior – portions.  That angle could then be used in conjunction with the amount of surface area along my sleeve to determine the depth and circumference of that smile.  That unyielding grin.  That meaningless cut in the blank face of fabric.

But why is my arm angled just so?  I need to reach my writing utensils.  I need to etch these words on this page.  And so there are the simple dimensions of the table and this chair.  But why this table and this chair?  And why write at all?  As opposed to digging a hole near the lilac bush outside or opening and closing the door to the office (dark at this hour)?  Or maybe drawing Pleistocene figures along the dim hallway or simply lacing a shoe – all of which would require different angles and tensions along my musculature, possibly even a different shirt for ease of movement, possible even a miniscule lengthening or tightening of the joint due to the secretion or absorption of synovial fluid in my elbow caused by a habit of different activity.

There is a science in the angle, a softer science in the culture that has guided me, and a more mysterious science in the spaces for these decisions and adjustments in the wrinkled matter of my brain.

But what of it?  Do I not frown now, myself, trying to get these words out?  Bite my lip here, trying to adjust sentences just so?  And as I reach for the “backspace,” does the smile in my sleeve not adjust itself accordingly?

I am dry.  I am out of discourse.  And I know the end of the page approaches.  My frown softens.  I think not about the crease of it along my face – it just unfolds itself there, due to the physics of genetics, across the unevenness of my lips and chin and cheeks.

What is my sleeve trying to accomplish?  What is my body trying to accomplish?  And what of another universe with a different coefficient of gravity, a different speed of light, a different relationship between matter – maybe one that pushes objects apart rather than binding them together – what then?

I stretch my arms.

The smile vanishes.  The crease is gone.  The prima causa disappearing now into an endless sea of white.

from the collection of: m. gantee