Twenty Years

The hovercraft loomed,

A silent sentinel watching

Over me and my little ones,

Waiting to take us

To a new home,

 

A new life.

Away from our dying planet,

Where the rising seas

Have washed away the cities,

Drowning all life, and humanity.

 

The promise was

A blue-green planet

Twenty light years away.

The caveat, we had to

Leave our old behind.

 

I held my mother's hand,

Wrinkled and dry, now

Damp with tears

Free-falling from her face.

And Papa

 

Standing beside her,

Our rock, full of emotion

He would never show

But a glisten in his eyes,

A trick of the light.

 

She grazed my cheek

With the soft back of her hand,

Like she did when I was little.

Dear girl, we are eighty.

We have lived.

 

Even if we could go,

We would not live to see

The new world. It would be

Twenty years in a ship.

Death on a ship.

 

I grew desperate, tears

Blinding. I grasped her hand

Tighter. We could stay.

The planet is a pipe dream.

We might not breathe.

 

Here, we can fish,

Live in the mountains.

We can find a way.

I would rather twenty years

Here with you

 

Than eternity in a metal box

Full of empty promises.

Papa's hand fell gently

On my shoulder. Child,

He said. You must think

 

Of them. His eyes turned

To my children, both

Bright eyed and happy,

Dancing around their

Grandparents, oblivious

 

To the agony we felt.

I held his eyes, and saw

Conflict and sadness

And a determination

To do what was right.

 

As did I.

 

I nodded to the pilot

Who saluted and left.

I embraced my mother

And father, and held

My children tight.

 

Together we watched

The hovercraft depart.

Mama said, now we

Have twenty years

Together.

 

No, I said.

We have forever.

 

--

 

Originally pubished in New Myths Issue 32