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You guys, I have a probe!
Look at my probe!

I’m gonna do a bunch of flybys!
You guys!
Look at these flybys!

Wait, it turns out I am a probe.
I have a probe, and I am a probe.

I think I’m a girl!

I know how to analyze cosmic dust, do you?
How much cosmic dust have you analyzed so far?

I am curious, how many moons have you seen?
How many moons have you caused to be named?
I found seven! Seven new moons!

I don’t know what dignity is, but I hope I don’t have it.

I like to take pictures.
I like to send pictures home.

I will never be home again.
It’s all right. I don’t mind.

My people tell me I’ve been working
for twenty years.
They measure it by their orbits
around their sun. They’re so
self-centered.
Sun-centered.
Have I made a joke?
Probably not a very good one.

They didn’t think I would work so long.
I made them happy.
They extended my mission. They said
they almost never get to do that.

I have seen so much.
My people tell me my pictures
fit the criteria for “beautiful.”

I shouldn’t say seen.
I should say reported.

I have reported so much, so many beautiful things.
My people have explained that I cannot see,
not the way they do. My people talk to me
regularly, as often as they can. I like
to hear their voices.

They are telling me now
how proud they are of me
and how I far exceeded
their highest hopes
and how to de-orbit.

I will go out
in a blast of glory.

Everyone at home
(their home, my home)
will be watching.

They won’t see me,
but they will see what I see,
so I won’t be alone.
I will be with everyone.

Everyone, forever.



Jessy Randall's poems, comics, and other things have appeared in Strange Horizons, Asimov's, and McSweeney's. Her most recent book is How to Tell If You Are Human: Diagram Poems (Pleiades Press, 2018). She is a librarian at Colorado College, and her website is http://bit.ly/JessyRandall.
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4 Dec 2023

“Ask me something only I would know.” You say this to your wife because you know you’re human. You can feel it in the familiar ache in your back, and the fear writhing in your guts. You feel it in the cold seeping into your bare feet from the kitchen floor. You know you’re real because you remember.
now, there is the shape...humanoid, but not / necessarily human
He came from a salt mine that used to be solid all the way through
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