Aphelion Issue 279, Volume 26
December 2022/January 2023
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Yorktown at Jupiter

(after a painting by David Robinson)

by John Marshall

(from the personal log of Lt. J. David Jones
Fleet Area Control
Discovery Class Planetary Exploration Vessel USS Yorktown)

The year of our Lord 2173 -

For three and a half years we have journeyed
in silent flight,
in the red light of our cabins,
floating through the decks
in the green light of our instruments,
on the ebony sea of space.

Now twenty minutes from orbital insertion,
I peer through a port in awe
of Jupiter on our starboard side;
overcome by such a jewel
floating in a slew of stars,
great Jupiter and his harem
within a veil of diamonds.

His splendid halo, like a wheel of seraphs,
is briefly paled by the flare of our braking thrusters.

As my thoughts whirl in a dervish dance,
the twilight of my mind is lit
by the memories of our journey;
for we have waited long for this time of total joy.

Our marvelous mechanical bird
has borne us well,
without hesitancy,
sleek and fast through the waves of Heaven.

Upon the wings of our silvern gull
we have crossed the streams of destiny,
winged as swift as Mercury
to ford the river of night
and by her silver sails
have breached the gates of Nature,
ascended the steps of rapture
to grasp the hands of gods.

© 2011 John Marshall

Find more by John Marshall in the Author Index.

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