Pseudotensor

A.Z. Louise

go, go before we get any further off course. i’ll be right behind you

ESCAPE PODS ARE AWAY. RECALCULATING

delta waves part and i am left sweat-drenched

shaking on sleep’s shore in the shade of

whispering, membranous leaves

titanium afterbirth left behind in my sleepwalking

leaves, hands, voices grasp at memories of falling into the sky

hunger chased by a plume of hubristic flame

alarms wailing as systems fail one by one

a woman with my mother’s hair – a waterfall of gray coils

pushes something like a hot toddy into my hand

rest, stay awhile. the ship can wait until tomorrow

it is tomorrow

the rituals of this place are so familiar that i wonder if i didn’t fall

forward in time and land at home among family

imagine these are my sister’s descendants waiting

for their skylost ancestor to come home and tell stories

that have become a game of telephone

imagine a distant radio signal degrading until only the lesson remains:

stay the course even when Vernier thrusters have failed

and your inner ear is as useless as your nav board

and someday the universe will spit you out

the mission is failed but the arc completes the circle

it doesn’t matter now. come out of the cold.

though the sea of faces are familiar as family

i miss the way a fireplace crackles with hunger

for the only sparks here are the many stars in the sky

identical to the ones at home but dancing to other songs

the nights are long enough now that i return to the ship

metal my cradle and the galaxy my blanket

i reach up to catch the fabric in my bare hands

leaves come down instead and drift to the forest floor

following paths not calculable in derivatives

math is math and the sky is the sky and you are here. be at peace

A.Z. Louise is a civil engineer-turned-writer of speculative things, whose conure keeps them company during the writing process. When not reading or writing, they can be found playing folk instruments, knitting, or weaving. Links to their work can be found at azlouise.com.

Issue 4

Interested in having your work published in the Awake? Complete your submission here.