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I'm sorry. But yes. I can see the question
you're asking on your face before you ask it,
and the answer is yes. I did know what I was doing
when I filled out that form, when I agreed that,
if selected, I would leave for Mars at the first opportunity.
Please understand. This is something I wanted
before all of the things we've wanted together. As a child,
I fell asleep asking imaginary questions of the astronauts
who walked on the moon or in soundless airless space.
But what did it feel like? isn't a query someone else can
ever answer. This is my chance to reach a hand back to
that seven-year-old who stared space-ward from her window,
too young to know that girls don't get to go forth alone
in search of discovery. I knew that you would be angry.
I knew you would want to leave first. To pack up your
world in a bag and walk away until I can't touch you, can't
see you, can't hear you. To rocket out of my atmosphere
toward a new frontier so that, when my turn comes,
it won't be anything you haven't done before. But what I'll
be doing, either way, is watching you fade. This?
This is my practice run.

Sara Polsky is the author of the YA novel This Is How I Find Her. Her book reviews and poetry have appeared previously in Strange Horizons.
Current Issue
21 Sep 2022

There is little more inspirational than a writer who devotes her talents to the work of others.
I was twelve when my mother was born. Twelve or thereabouts. If I’d been older, I could have said things like I never wanted to be a daughter; I don’t have a filial bone in my body. Relatives could have tilted their heads at me, insisting I’d change my mind. But I was twelve so I said nothing. I had no relatives.
a few miles from the fallout zone. / You double-check the index card
Unripe morning / cut open too soon
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