When Her Eyes Open
by Shira Lipkin
feet pounding the desert,
shove off, get more momentum
legs like pistons
half meat and half metal,
and the meat slowly cooking,
not yet not yet—
No time for goodbyes, for anything.
When the siren ripped through the station,
her clock started ticking down
to absolute zero.
No time to fight with him, to explain.
This is the thing: when you take this job,
managing a new terraforming station
on a new world,
they give you this body.
Long list of specs, but it boils down to:
you can go outside.
you can take massive acceleration
You can take all kinds of things.
They take you aside, and they tell you:
These are the risks.
And you are the failsafe.
They tell you:
if everything goes wrong,
if the shit hits the fan—
it has to be you.
And you sign,
and you get your augmentation,
because it's a new world,
And you think,
never in a million years
will I be hugging a blown reactor,
screaming through gritted teeth,
sucking the power in
so the station doesn't explode.
I will never be running down the corridor,
past my friends, past him,
no time no time,
out the airlock
onto the scalding weirdness of this planet.
Meat is cooking fast,
she smells like dinner,
and she'd laugh if she wasn't trying not to scream.
impact jarring her legs where joints have seared away
just got to get far enough away
When her eyes open
the desert turns to glass.
About the Author:
Lipkin lives in Boston with her husband, daughter, and
three cats, most of whom also write. She has fiction and
poetry in current or forthcoming issues of ChiZine,
Electric Velocipede, Polu Texni, and
Cabinet des Fees. You can track her movements at
Poem © 2009 Shira Lipkin. Photo by