Aphelion Issue 273, Volume 26
June 2022
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The Explorer Trilogy
Book Two: The Survivor

by Garrett Carroll

Part One: The Edgeless Abyss

The hours sweep by us in light-speed,
from one star to the next.
I write a line in my journal,
"We go among the distant wrecks."

There is joy and melancholy
that juxtaposes our
excitement, another voyage
here onboard this stellar tower.

No other voyage out will do,
they would demoralize
us and cause a ruptured, wincing
mind as we're polarized.

The ship flies along a dangerous trail,
though we do not know it
yet, as if the shapes of planets
distort our course and shift

us elsewhere on the way to Salite,
a planet orbiting
two stars amidst a chaos rend,
a course of fate and rings

that take us now to new children
of bipeds that can walk,
most likely not adorned in stones
or ancient spirit rocks.

Part Two: The Crash

A lightning clash of sky and land,
our ship is land and sky.
The damaged parts, they fall and fall,
our bodies limp and cry.

We've landed on an asteroid
with nowhere we can fly.
We dig ourselves from the wreckage
and let out heaving sighs.

Smoke reaches the barren, lifeless
atmosphere while fleeing
from the metal that falls atop us,
siphoning our breathing.

The wreckage splinters the rocklands,
the giant meteor
is a testament and farce test
of our strength and theatre.

Hope is all I have now tainted
by their suffocating.
Their bodies wilt and leave in gray
across the deadlands baring.

There souls drift away from my sights-
They lie lifeless on the ground.
They're really dead this time, like lions
That roar without a sound.

I take my leave of the bodies
piled up and sanctified.
no ship can take them back to Earth,
none are Immortalized.

They traveled farther, far like me
but their bodies gave out.
They etched their names into this rock
that I stand on and shout.

I shout to the heavens in rage,
I kick up dust and rubble.
yet still I feel no magic as thoughts
of my death ease my troubles.

The dragging, slogging time goes by.
No matter what I think,
the smiles leave as my mind struggles
and continues here to sink.

Part Three: Alone in Solitude

Particles rust my bloody lips
that dry down through to my bones.
Days, weeks, I lost the count before
we crashed on this lost throne.

a king to no one but my thoughts,
I scribble words in dusty gray,
the brittle specks that bind this place
become the start of May.

I sit by the ship's lifeless wreck
and watch the stars fly around,
the colors of galaxies move,
move mystically, unbound

by our eye's on normal planets
stuck in the same trite views.
perhaps some god can sense my pain
and sent my eyes their muse.

The stars are the goliath beasts,
the ship is my cyclops.
It rusts and rears its head around
as the ringing sounds stop.

I live on in my aging mind,
that's all death really is.
just us aging past the time
when we will tell our myths.

Part Four: Salite

An atom crouching above God,
the planet rises and drapes
above my head and swells my retinas,
as I watch stargazed and agaped.

The fields of clouds obscure some parts
of the rising planet,
yet I see its disheveled form
shatter small rocks and birds.

Salite. I note it's distinct stretching
as two suns pull and tug—
Its details strike my bewildered
mind. I struggle to get up.

I can see the world we wanted
to find, to find a place
so distant from Earth that harbors
life and is nestled well,

a place where legends can speak words,
where power comes from knuth,
so fast do these emotions hit,
I feel irresolute.

I cannot feel the winds of space
cutting through my calloused skin.
I feel no fear, no loss of life,
I'm ageless here.

I jump.

© 2022 Garrett Carroll

Garrett Carroll is a poet and musician whose work has been published in Star*Line and Utopia Science Fiction Magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Adams State University.

Find more by Garrett Carroll in the Author Index.