by 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 historythatneverwas.com or on Twitter @historyneverwas.