Aphelion Issue 291, Volume 28
February 2024
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
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The Battle is Over

by Thomas D Reynolds

Your hands,
shaking and limp,
remove themselves
from the controls.

The thunder
echoing in your ears
after the helmet is off
is silence.

The cries of
your copilot
faded away long ago,
after the first hit.

Beneath closed lids,
your eyes detect
starbursts of fire
pulsing like heartbeats.

A message is sent
from brain to hand
to check your wounds
but it never arrives.

Your ship,
reduced by half,
begins drifting
end over end.

Your shattered legs
extend into space
beneath the shattered hulk
like loose wiring.

This image will haunt
the mind of your killer
like a burning sun
throughout his life.

And in the first
of many attempts
to dispel it,
he fires one final blast.

© 2005, 2007 Thomas D Reynolds

Thomas Reynolds teaches at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, and has published poems in various print and online journals, including Combat, American Western Magazine, Flint Hills Review, Alabama Literary Review, Aethlon-The Journal of Sport Literature, New Delta Review, The Green Tricycle, Ariga, 3rd Muse Poetry Journal, Sidereality, and Prairie Poetry. My poem "How to Survive on a Distant Planet," published in Strange Horizons, was nominated for a Rhysling award for best short poem.

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