POEM – Post-Salvage Stress Syndrome


I thought of inevitable space accidents – and what it will be like for the salvage teams having to go in and retrieve dead, vacuum-frozen bodies in amongst the drifting chaos of zero gravity. And this was the result…

You glide through the airless airlock
with your breath rasping in your ears,
As the beam from your headlamp waits
to fade in the massed darkness…

You rasp through the useless airlock
with your breath sounding in your ears,
as your headlamp beam fades under
the mass of waiting darkness
when you weave through the drifting
debris of a dead crew…

Every breath you take fades in the darkness,
and the gliding debris masses and snags you
waiting to weave traps in the airless locked trap
as you drift against one of the dead crew…

You retrieve the drifting crew,
pushing a path through the debris
picked out in your headlamp, and
soundlessly screaming as you weave
your way back to the dead airlock…

And when you’ve fled to the safe sunshine
of a planet, you’ll hug and hug a nice
next-door girl – taking great care
never to look at the starlit sky


image taken from Gravity, a Warner Bros picture, 2013.

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