by Lyn Coffin
When you wake up fully
for the last time you are being
chased by a three-member hive. You
are running down an open-air chute left from
the old civilization. Its sloped yellow sides force you
to run straight down the middle. Thick dust testifies to
a long time of disuse. You breathe only through your filterclip.
You do not know where the chute leads. It would make sense if
it led to the wide waters, and much of the old civilization was built
on sense. You have been running a long time, but you still have plenty
of bloodwater, and one of the new non-fail hoses. You will give out long
before your nutriment system. Your foot-, leg-, trunk-, arm-, hand-, neck-, and
head-gear are in excellent shape. You will give out long before your gear. You are
in better shape than the hive chasing you. There are three of them, but there is no virtue
in that. They will encourage each other, but they will waste energy in it. The chute is narrow.
They will impede each other. The sky is clear and the moons are aligned overhead. You
will give out before the weather changes. This is what there isrunning and breathing
and sucking bloodwater. You put your mind on pilot. You will give out before your
mind. In a former life, you gave your mate your poison for the inheritors. You
have a knife but self-attack was your weakest subject at the academy.
Normal suicide is no longer an option.The only choice is run or be
overtaken. Death is certain, but there are better delivery systems
than a hive of non-gun killers.
Now you are running in
the dark. Now in the light.
Now in the dark. At the coming
of the third light, the chute ends abruptly.
You are on a non-stone beach. The water ahead
of you is calm and smooth. A breeze ruffles the waves
to white froth. You push the shed button and your gear falls away.
You untrigger the filterclip and unstrap the bloodwater apparatus, and let them fall.
Naked, you enter the sea. The land under your feet quickly drops away and
you are surprised to feel how easily you are lifted up. You move your
hands and feet awkwardly at first, but gradually you get the knack,
and begin to move. The water is an ally, pulling you away from
land. You look back and see the killers on the beach. As you
watch, they trade a few shoves and punches. The tallest
picks up your filterclip. All three sit down to wait. They
have what they want, within reason. So do you. Your
job now is to exhaust yourself. Once you are
exhausted, it will not be hard to drown.
Your whole life has led you to this.
You will do death well.
Lyn Coffin's 9th book was published in 2011 by Night Publishing (UK). White Picture is Lyn's translations into English of Jiri Orten, a Czech killed in the holocaustone of the 20th century's greatest poets. In 2012, her translations of Dato Barbakadze (amazing!) will be published by Night, and her anthology of Georgian poetry in translation is under consideration at Slavica (Indiana University). She's been a playwright, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king. (cf. Wikipedia) Other poems forthcoming at About Place Journal. Well-liked in Poughkeepsie. Wherever she goes, that's where she endeavors to be. Namaste.