Fiction by Jonathan Humphrey

December 15, 2023

Kufic (A Perplexed Moon Dangles from Threads of Dust)

Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.    – Rumi

My friend Yosef was telling the truth when he said the universe had a reset button, though he was somewhat misguided as to how that button would manifest.

“The Sufis have known for hundreds of years,” he would contest. “It’s a frustratingly complex compound word, written in Arabic calligraphy. Think Rumi on bath salts. With the idea being that once the universe has become aware of itself enough to create such a work, that Allah, or the source, would be pleased, and begin the process anew.”

We used to haunt coffee shops with our banter, and argue pink suns up and down local parks.

What medium would please the almighty? Ink on paper? Marker on napkin? Or would a sacrifice be more to their liking? Ewe’s blood? Muddled sea cucumber?

And if it all went down, would we experience this reset? Time playing itself backward like a video rewound. Or, simply, poof. All matter resolved to a point, to bang again, bigly.

Turns out, the calligraphy was meant to be three-dimensional.

Turns out, ants. Yep. One supercolony of ants tunneled the word of god through the chalky soils of Ethiopia. A brief glow emitted from the ground, a smell of sulfur announced its completion.

And all at once my lungs felt like socks turned inside out.

No more decisions to be made. 

	sickle moon
	how you make the cut
	for sentience

About Jonathan Humphrey

Jonathan Humphrey’s work has recently appeared in Modern Haiku, The Best Small Fictions, and whiptail. With a fondness for whiskey and whippoorwills, he divides his time between the lights of Nashville and the woods of his native Kentucky.