Aphelion Issue 275, Volume 26
August 2022
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
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by J. B. Hogan

What would the mechanism be for going over to the other side?
How would that work?
Is it a logical, scientific process – or
just magic of some kind?

Are pets there, Fluffy and Spot –
the hummingbird clinging to the back porch feeder?
The mule in Hemingway, its legs broken,
left to drown – it, too, is there?
What goes, what stays, what doesn’t make the cut?

If you wake up with your body,
do you finally get to make love to your neighbor’s lovely wife?
What if you were cremated, does that leave you out of the game?
How would this afterlife work?

Maybe you’ll sit at the right hand of God,
but which God – Muslim, Christian, Jew?
What if he’s not even a he, or she or it is Hindu, Buddhist?

What about all those other people,
do you really want to spend all of eternity with them?
Think about it – boring preachers, holier than thou parishioners,
inane talk show hosts, idiot reporters and worse;
the hypocritical rich trying to drive their Hummers
to the head of God’s eternal line.

What if the afterlife sucked,
actually was a kind of hell?
What if your worst enemies are there, too?
All the people you hurt, ignored, tried to avoid?

Then again, maybe it’s a cool thing,
like you’re all energy, free in time and space –
able to see all of history, from Actium to Calvary,
from the Custer Hill to Pleiku.
What if it was the greatest freedom of all?

But what if there isn’t any thing at all, nothing, not one thing?
Nothing waiting for us but a black eternity without consciousness?
Ernie’s “our nada, who art in nada.”
Old Nabokov would be right then:
“our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.”

So what would be the mechanism for going over to the other side?
How would that work?
Is there a logical, scientific explanation – or
Could it only be magic, voodoo of some kind?
This afterlife – how can it be?

© 2009 J. B. Hogan

J. B. Hogan’s flash fiction piece “Kerosene Heat” was nominated for a 2010 Pushcart Prize by Word Catalyst ( www.wordcatalyst.com). His dystopian novel New Columbia was selected in the “Best of Long Fiction 2009” category by Aphelion. His poem “Gray Man” was selected as one of “The Best Pieces of 2009” by Cynic Online Magazine (www.cynicmag.com). His prize-winning fiction e-book Near Love Stories is online at Cervena Barva Press (www.cervenabarvapress.com).

In addition, he has over 100 stories and poems in such journals as: Frontier Tales, Word Catalyst, Aphelion, Istanbul Literary Review, Cynic Online Magazine, Admit 2, Every Day Poets, Ranfurly Review, Dead Mule, The Scruffy Dog Review, Smokebox, Gloom Cupboard, Rumble, Poesia, Bewildering Stories, Avatar Review, Copperfield Review, Ascent Aspirations, Megaera, and The Square Table. He lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Find more by J. B. Hogan in the Author Index.

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