The inventory gave only their measurements,
they never knew their date of birth,
their country of origin,
their name or their names or the day
they supposed they’d died.
Cell fission had welded bone to bone, organ to organ,
spines that coiled double helix,
time had welded question to answer until inseperable.

They whispered to each other
when the lights were out
and the nightwatchman at the end of the beam of light
prowling and piercing through the laboratory,
illuminating levitating dust particles,
filing cabinets, maps, charts
and their jar,
thought he was going mad,
his heart missing a beat every time,
checking and double-checking the room
wondering about the bubbles
in the formaldehyde, raising
his hand but unable to bring
himself to tap the glass.
He leaves feeling he’s being watched.

They were not alone.
Mounted on the wall
a horse’s nervous system
eternally straining to gallop,
memories of a past life.
Down the hall the embalmed
Bolshevik in it’s case screams
about Malinovsky and Sverdlov,
and what is to be done.

There they floated and dreamed
of black holes, atom bombs,
dark matter,
of travelling on a beam of light,
of bending space and time.
There they solved mathematics –
Fermat’s Last Theorem,
Hilbert’s 16th Problem,
the Jacobian conjecture,
Navier–Stokes existence,
their fingerprints the same,
partitioned by =
smearing the equations in unison
on the inside of the glass
until they were encircled
by numerical hieroglyphs,
taking great care,
with a heavy heart,
to wipe the glass clean
before dawn and the sound
of the key in the lock.

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