Poetry by Ray Ball
Princess Leia went to back up her data on the cloud.
But the infrastructure was no longer there.
The connection had been lost.
Habit had made her briefly forget what kept her up at night remembering:
Alderaan had cried out.
Shattered into nothingness.
Taking lives and gigabytes into oblivion
Pictures in frames and projected from devices vanished.
The libraries and bars emptied forever of their books and bottles and patrons.
In the final moments, droids irrigated crops with recycled water.
White-winged birds and crickets chirped.
Babies giggled, slobbered, spit up the milk they had sucked from their mothers’ breasts.
Some of the mothers had mastitis.
One woman rocked a crib with one hand and wrote a list with the other.
Then suddenly she had no hands, no crib, no list.
In those last moments, children pedaled their speeder bikes to the end of the road.
They climbed the trees of Isatabith with their boughs blowing in a wind.
Until that last terrible wind.
Some played at being storm troopers and pilots.
They dreamed of drinking emerald wine and flying past the mountains into space.
Their lives would not be long.
They would not prosper.
They would not travel to other galaxies or worlds.
They would not even make their way home.
A man fantasized about the Cloudshape Falls, while he darned a hole in his sock.
Just as a hole in the solar system opened up.
Mending and man atomized into the void.
On that side of the planet, it had been daytime.
No one saw the stars -- not even the star that destroyed them.
Ray Ball, Ph.D., is a writer and history professor in Anchorage, Alaska. She loves archival research, teaching perplexing texts, running marathons, hiking, and snuggling with her beagle Bailey. Her poems have appeared in journals such as Alaska Women Speak, Eunoia Review, Foliate Oak, NatureWriting, and Occulum. She tweets @ProfessorBall