Size / / /

I chose solitude for a career,

away from people

and the curse of interaction,

the first footprint on strange worlds,

and sometimes the last.

Pemeisia for example,

at the far end of how much isolation

even I could celebrate.

So black,


   so bleak,

it could have been the corporate symbol of my heart.

Despite the ice that melted a little of itself

out of sheer boredom,

the planet could not make a decent year

out of its desolation.

Time was like kids exploring an abandoned house.

Nothing to play with so it left.

Its sun was too far away to be an issue,

a speck, like kindling

for its own distant fire.

The planet turned but like a baby

in the crook of the dark's arms.

It could not rise to adulthood either.

Life, in fact, was out of the question.

Wind moved the surface around

like an endless game of musical chairs.

but nothing in the air

ever went to ground.

Water was caged, minerals suffocated.

Gases bumped against each other,

formed nothing new.

What did my report say:

one word . . . uninhabitable.

I was in a place no one could live.

And, for a month, he did.

John Grey can be reached by email at You can find more of John's work in our archives.
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