“Aubade: Taking Off” by T.D. Walker

The ship jolts up the way stems,
their roots pulled from the damp
ground, jolt upward and pause
before that movement toward darkness.
A window back to that soil
reveals a highway, winding
back to a clearing where you
and I pulled green
shoots to make a garnish
for our last picnic, a meal hastily
eaten in the hunger of the body
after the body has been satisfied.
This is your window now,

where I must leave you, earth-
bound, while this ship takes

my body away from yours:
mornings here, their gradual blueness,
the way the mockingbird calls, the way
sunlight calls you, and the air
waking your body to these particular days.
And others will come after me, into darkness
your bedside lamp chases away, as if
you could lift the sun. Their farewells
will be as full of earth as an atlas.
I have much to learn where I am going:
how to step in the red soils, how to endure
long winters, how to turn over stones to find
this new world’s way of parting.

T.D. Walker’s poems and stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Web Conjunctions, The Cascadia Subduction Zone, Luna Station Quarterly, and elsewhere. She writes about feminism, science fiction, and freethought at her blog Freethinking Ahead, which is accessible from her website, www.tdwalker.net.
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