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The minefields of New Earth
were left by careless giants,
she said.
But first, two illegal things.
One) when a pilot coming out
of slipspace pops into real
time too close to the planet
surface, explosions erupt
across the dark side like divorce
blows apart extended
family.
Two) I loved her even
though she smoked
cigarettes.
After One) the light side is
clogged with ash and debris
for a week, and apologetic
pilots, if they survive passing
through the atmosphere to
land, are treated like pariah.
Two) We met one of those
days, when the sunset
lasts from dawn until
dark. She had that
hangdog guilty look, so I
fed her lo-poi from the
ends of my chopsticks and
coveted the way noodles,
like smoke, curled
between her lips.
A pilot can get stripped of her
license for either, but it’s not her
fault, really, it’s the
terraformers of New Earth, who
made a planet that looks like
home but tries to kill you.
Which is the way love is,
destroying half your
world, by accident, while
the other keeps spinning,
not quite in sync
anymore.



Karen Bovenmyer earned her MFA in Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine's Stonecoast program in July 2013. Some of the places her dark fantasy and scifi horror stories and poems have appeared are Bonnie Stufflebeam's Art & Words Show, Crossed Genres Magazine, and Abyss, & Apex Magazine. She is the Nonfiction Editor for Escape Artist’s new magazine Mothership Zeta—Issue 0 is currently available for download and Issue 1 will debut in October 2015.
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18 Oct 2021

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