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Captain Jean-Luc Picard Flies Commercial

By 

Allison Emily Lee

Captain Picard lets the dull roaring of the engines

settle into his joints, his stomach, his lungs,

the smell of exhaust makes him sleepy and calm.

He stirs his coffee clockwise three times,

letting the last of the bourbon dissolve before he takes a sip.

The plane hovers above neatly identical farmlands,

only the sluggish red-brown rivers of this planet snaking across the surface

break up the uniform landscape.

Picard sips his coffee, feeling it warm the back of his head,

fuzzy and soft, the fingers of whiskey

soothe his throat on the way down.

Finally his hands relax and he rests one gently

on his lap, feeling the not shaking of it.

He reads the letter again, pausing to check the progress

of the flight path, still more red-brown horizon,

still more rivers cutting through neat rectangular fields.

The letter is crumpled and stained,

a brief dismissal, written in professional tones, relieving him of duty.

Effective immediately.

That was six months ago. Six months of a consultation job.

Six months on a world of endless sunrises,

six months of watching those damn suns hover on the horizon as they

danced a heavy gravitational waltz with the planet,

six months of telling closed faced, reluctant, farmers

with delicate tattoos on their arms and necks how to

recycle their guns, plow their land and water their crop of fruited vines

like they cared whether or not the root systems would fail.

Six months of bones that ached to dissolve and

reappear one more time, maybe somewhere tropical,

with humid nights full of calling insects

and a pyramid to climb underneath the milky

exhalation of stars above.

On this plane above this dry place his skin is a prison;

like a healing scab, something itching below the surface.

Picard sips his coffee, licking the drops on the side of the cup

as he dreams of endless blackness slipping past

the edge of the windshield of his starship. He feels

the wind that wasn’t really wind caress his face

and sees stars and planets spinning off into nothingness

as he travels forever and forever towards the edge of everything.

He closes his eyes and as the chair cuts into

his lower back, and the stewardesses walk by to pick up trash,

he turns up the doo-wop song playing in his headphones and dreams

of the edge of space, a thick line of light, like a flashlight underneath a door,

reaching up and over a dark blue-black moon.

Quiz question:

What music is Captain Picard listening to?

Black Flag

Black Flag

Classical Music

Classical Music

Doo-Wop

Doo-Wop

Vulcan Chants

Vulcan Chants

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Issue 9

published 

September 22, 2017

Captain Jean-Luc Picard Flies Commercial was written by Allison Emily Lee, who's work has appeared or is forthcoming from Severine, Lady, Bop Dead City, and Public Pool. Her first chapbook, Daphne Stories, is forthcoming from Bitterzoet Press. She is the founder and editor of Daphne Magazine. She lives in San Francisco and likes coffee, houseplants and swimming holes. You can visit her online at allisonemilylee.com

i dont feel like fininishing this website right now and i am sorry

If you believe that,

I've got a bridge in Brooklyn

I'd like to sell you.

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Issue 9

This writing was originally published in Opium Magazine, and is not listed in the Lit.cat archives.
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