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Seven Secrets
Dawn Vogel

The first secret is

I suggested your name

for the mission to Mars,

knowing you would take it.

Pain level: nothing.


The second secret is

when you said

you were going to Mars

I still pretended to be sad.

Pain level: tear ducts aching to produce tears.


The third secret is

you weren't the only one I picked,

and all shared a unique similarity.

Pain level: how many times a broken heart?

(How many were in your crew?)


The fourth secret is

I spent time reconfiguring the cryopods

(for efficiency—and maybe a bit more

uncomfortable closeness than strictly necessary).

Pain level: none for me, all for you.


The fifth secret is

the other tiny faults

(in the interest of cost-savings)

strewn about the ship.

Pain level: flinching from every ignored fault.


The sixth secret is

I waited on the platform, out of sight,

to see, at long last, the launch,

followed by the inevitable explosion.

Pain level: a cramping leg thanks to my vantage.


And the seventh secret

is knowing that

you never knew

why your mission failed.

Pain level: excruciating.

Dawn Vogel has written for children, teens, and adults, spanning genres, places, and time periods. More than 100 of her stories and poems have been published by small and large presses. Her specialties include young protagonists, siblings who bicker but love each other in the end, and things in the water that want you dead. She is a member of Broad Universe, SFWA, and Codex Writers. She lives in Seattle with her awesome husband (and fellow author), Jeremy Zimmerman, and their herd of cats. Visit her at or on Twitter @historyneverwas.

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