SFPA Speculative Poetry Contest Short Form Third Place:
Seeking Exemption Status?by Claire Bateman
You may be evaluated for exemption from THE MAP if you can provide appropriate documentation for at least one of the following statements:
You possess only the tendency to exist.
You are currently both random and discontinuous.
You are so beautiful/hideous/sacred/profane that a glimpse of you causes immediate, non-reversible blindness/incineration/petrification/vitrification.
You are so minute, gargantuan, subtle, obvious, transparent, plural, all-pervasive, transitory, episodic, fast, or slow as to render you imperceptible to THE CARTOGRAPHERS.
You are in training to become a tabula rasa.
You are time.
You are amnesia.
You are the Grand Universal Theory.
You are cold fusion, a perpetual motion machine, the Fountain of Youth, or El Dorado.
You are purely analogical.
You are the collective unconscious.
You overflow THE MAP.
You contain THE MAP.
You are the doppelganger and/or conscience of THE MAP.
You are THE MAP.
You may not be considered for exemption status if:
You possess a philosophical, moral, or aesthetic objection to the notion of context.
You never asked to be born/formed/conceptualized.
You are beautiful/hideous/sacred/profane within an acceptable perceptual range.
You currently reside behind/beneath/within some other entity or object on THE MAP.
You have been or are currently on a previous MAP.
You would prefer to save yourself for some future MAP.
You intend to sleep through the duration of THE MAP’S lifespan.
You are preparing to take a vow of invisibility.
You are “under the weather.”
You are the weather.
You are a false epiphany.
You are, or have registered to become, a banshee, “haint,” revenant, or other discarnate entity.
You are absence and/or the nature of suffering/desire.
You are configuration space.
You are ontic, spiritual, or moral anxiety.
You are currently extinct or designated for extinction.
You merely find it distasteful to be folded/unfolded.