Size / / /

Feel how the walls freeze and can't breathe.

Absurd as children flapping arms, the alien spaceboats

cycle through the airlock. Confront the things. Speak

of safety, of this fragile sheath,

practicalities of gravity, and, afloat,

feel how the walls freeze and can't breathe.

Reply to their red and golden physique

of sly heat, their flickering tendrilled bloat.

Cycle through the airlock. Confront the things. Speak

of trade, the consequences of failure. Seethe.

Try sign language, semaphore, a series of notes.

Feel how the walls freeze and can't breathe.

Your breath, unnecessarily loud in your helmet, halts

in your throat.

Feel how the walls freeze and can't breathe.

Cycle through the airlock. Confront the things. Speak.




Joanne Merriam is the publisher at Upper Rubber Boot Books. She is a new American living in Nashville, having immigrated from Nova Scotia. She most recently edited Broad Knowledge: 35 Women Up To No Good, and her own poetry has appeared in dozens of places including Asimov's, The Fiddlehead, Grain, and previously in Strange Horizons.
Current Issue
22 Nov 2021

They put quilting on her metal limbs so that we could nuzzle into her embrace.
"It's not that I don't want to write. It's that there are barriers, and some of those barriers are of my own making, and some of them are not."
Ergo, the ray is a bad thing for Black Barney but a good thing for Candy Cane. Perspective is so important.
"It is hard not to take SG1 at, quite literally, face value. The ethnic composition of the team speaks for itself."
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Opening to fiction submissions for the month of November!
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