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There's no way into the quarantine zone
on foot, so from my wall-screened apartment
I pilot a makeshift drone to you.
A grainy screen links up with its
end-heavy camera while I steer
with an Atari controller
an uncertain hovercraft, black market bought.
Its whirring racket surely wakes your neighbors
as it hangs like an unsettled chandelier
beyond your open window.

A metal claw extends
my own addition. Hours
spent in a shelled-out workshop,
more a surgeon than an engineer,
a vital organ transplant;
exchanging air-to-surface missiles
and precision laser guidance for steel fingers,
sure and strong and harmless.
(Satellite bombardments and tactical plagues
nobody needs flying robots anymore,
not to kill.) The claw presents a twine-wrapped
package with oat bread and honey and a jug of fresh
water and pain pills in an unmarked bottle
so they will not be stolen and
rose-colored stationary with a letter
from me.

I cannot fit the machine through your window
and the grayscale video displays only pale fingers
grasping these gifts. The drone autopilots home,
while I zoom and optimize and refresh
this captured image. I need to know
the hand is yours and not some dying stranger
who takes the food
and leaves my letter

Peter Medeiros teaches composition at Emerson College, practices Kung
Fu in Davis Square, and writes fiction and poetry over copious amounts
of coffee at Diesel Café in Somerville, Massachusetts. His work was
recently featured in Bastion Magazine, Outposts of Beyond, and Spark
IV: A Creative Anthology.
Current Issue
8 Apr 2024

the burrowing spiders, / backs the size of satellites, / orbiting your hair
And these meteors still fall to the earth.
Graduate Assistant Four Fronds Turning had made the best guacamole that Mike had ever tasted in his original or post-revival life, and it was all wrong.
Issue 1 Apr 2024
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By: Sammy Lê
Art by: Kim Hu
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Strange Horizons
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