Waking is slow. The frozen throat forgets
a pulse once beat inside it. There were dreams
of screaming. Limbs come free. The body seems
to have survived, and I, inside, and yet—

And yet the ship is motionless. We meant
to wake in orbit, seven centuries gone
from Earth, to land and settle. It’s gone wrong;
we’ve stopped far out, dark, cold, our venture spent—

And yet the planet sparkles. Strings of light
mark cities. Signals tell of people near
who, decades past, outracing light, came here
to wait for us on our unneeded flight.

Here where we thought we’d be the first to roam
our children’s children’s children call us home.

—Grace Seybold