Photograph by Jose Padua
I must have been nine or ten when I first
wondered how I would leave the world when it

was time for me to leave the world. Would everything
be flat like glass in the future? Would the curves

on buildings disappear like the airplanes
that flew away from me to the world until

they were too small to see and I was too
far to catch them? When it was 1965

the 21st century seemed far away,
seemed not exotic but more like science

fiction or a Thursday night film like
The Island of the Killer Shrews or

The Hideous Sun Demon. When I was
young I had weird pains in my chest and one

night I even woke up shaking. And even
before all that I sometimes thought about

the end of the world, like at the New Year’s
Day party we always went to when we

were kids when I would have rather stayed home
than see that old guy with the big forehead

and the age spots on his nose. Now, going
into town for Christmas my daughter asks

for the song she calls “Twentieth Century
Go to Sleep,” as my wife feeds our son from

a bottle then puts it in her purse when he’s done,
and they all fall asleep as the winter sun goes down.

-Jose Padua

Photograph by Jose Padua

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