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We’ll know we’ve reached civilization
when our viewport shows nothing but bodies,
floating caskets with see-through glass windows,
helmetless corpses with bug-eyed heads twisted in agony
mummies wrapped in cloth, dried into skeletons
by thousands of years of floating in a vacuum
silver capsules filled with ashes
single digits identified only by engraved tags and rings.
Everybody, no matter which planet they live on
looks up at the sky and wants their corpse to reach the stars
about the clogged obstacle course all those remains might create
from across the universe.
[Editor’s Note: Publication of this poem was made possible by a gift from Maria Schrater during our annual Kickstarter.]