For today’s Free Fiction Thursday I’m sharing a poem that makes my sister cry.
I don’t do a ton of science fiction — science and math aren’t my strong suits, and although I love to watch sci-fi I’m not so much a fan of reading a lot of it. Still, every now and then an idea strikes me and I go with it although, true to form, I tend to focus less on the space and more on the emotion.
I fully expect we’ll have colonies on other planets in the distant future, and I would go if the planet were dying, but it would take something that dramatic for me to leave my Earth, my place — my home.
There Are No Trees on Alpha Centuari
It’s only a planet! the ads read,
as if we would be foolish for mourning it.
Who grieves for dirt?
And yes, it is dying.
And yes, we must leave.
We must look to the stars to live.
I know that.
But this land is in my blood.
Those are the trees they planted
when we were born.
Five generations have lived in this house.
My family has haunted these woods
since a time before rockets
and smiling women in cheerful ads telling us to leave.
That is my uncle’s car
rusting away among the trees.
My grandfather built that clock.
My mother canned those peaches.
My sister pushed me down those stairs once,
and every Christmas morning my brother sat at the top,
waiting for us to wake up.
Even if I could pack them up
and take them on the ship
— the bell that rang at our wedding,
the garden my parents built —
they would not be the same.
This is not only a planet.
This is who I am.
This is my grandmother’s doily
over my great aunt’s sewing machine
in the extra room my father built
when I was three years old.
I will ride the rockets
and leave my place behind.
But when, in the moonlights of the colony,
I look towards the small star of Earth,
I will not see only a planet.
I will see three tall trees
and my grandparents’ grave by the church
and the hill in the backyard
that we called the End of the World.
I will see the light of our dying sun
peeking in the windows
shining on dusty picture frames
of memories the rockets left behind.
“There Are No Trees on Alpha Centauri” was first published by Silver Blade.