it’s the last line of the poem “to the unlikely event" by w.s. merwin, addressing the idea of the "unlikely event" (which we use to talk about risk and horror and disaster) and how we pretend that it’s meaningful—when in fact every event is unlikely, and we live in the aftermath of every unlikely thing that went before, and what seems commonplace and predictable exists in spite of infinitesimally narrow odds.
(someone calculated that the probability of you existing at all is the same as the probability that when 2 million people come together to each play a game with a trillion-sided dice, they all roll the dice and come up with exactly the same number. this is considered to be a generous estimate. the probability of you is basically zero—but not zero. we’re unlikely creatures with a hundred trillion cells and dreams and jokes and libraries and hot-air balloons and dancing and electricity, with four-chambered hearts and opposable thumbs. given the entropy of the universe, all the things you might be and do and feel are so unlikely as to be almost inconceivable. and yet—)
that last line is like a talisman, i think: a prayer that the bad thing won’t come; but it’s also an invocation of how near to impossibility all our moments are, how unlikely it is that we’re here at all, how astonishing it is that we’re alive and enduring and have things we fear to lose. so it’s my tag for human beings and the ways that we’re strange and brilliant and terrible and striving and fearful and brave and unlikely, and sometimes conscious of our own fragility, and wondrous by inches of infinity.