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It’s possible, you know,
despite what Carl Sagan said
for life to survive in such an inhospitable place,
in such a barren and noxious landscape.
The knowledge to do so is kept secret,
passed down through maternal lines—
mother to daughter,
with each successive generation becoming unwilling keepers of ancient techniques.

The first trick is to make yourself small,
so small that you’re not even a shadow of your former self.
You see, it’s all about surface area ratios,
so when temperatures are hot enough to melt lava
the heat will pass right on by
without touching you.

The next trick is the most vital to remember:
when immersed in that sulfuric acid atmosphere,
don’t try to speak,
ever.
It will always be the wrong answer,
and there’s too much carbon dioxide in the air
waiting to poison you.
Instead, train your vocal cords to forget how to function,
teach them how to forget to form words—in time, they will close of their own accord.

Side-note: if at first you struggle with this technique, biting your tongue may help.

Why would anyone want to live on Venus, you ask?

Well, it wasn’t always like this.

Back before the atmosphere grew thick,
it was nice—
there were oceans of life-giving water
offering promises of a beautiful future.
And if it weren’t for all the clouds,
I could show you proof of those ancient shorelines—
forever etched like scar tissue in the terrain.
Endless years of volcanic activity transformed Venus from habitable to hell.
But it’s not Venus’s fault;
it’s doing the best it can.
You’ll have to adapt.

Oh, one last thing before you go:
years are shorter on Venus,
225 days to Earth’s gentle 365.
Should you choose to stay,
make sure to adjust your life expectancy accordingly.



In elementary school, Symantha spent recess reading and writing poems.  She's the first in her family to attend college, graduating with a B.A in English Literature and went on to earn an M.F.A in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University.  She's now a writer in the video game industry.

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5 Dec 2022

We found you, and you alone, in a universe that had forgotten to die.
there is something queer about this intention—
In my calculus class was a man in an iridescent polo and pigeon feathers in his dark, tangled hair.
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