Generation Ship

Though this is no prison, it might as well be. Everything is white or grey on this generation ship that is our home until we find home. For all the things we thought to bring, pigments were not among them. The white walls, white halls and corridors, the grey metals, an oppressive sameness, interrupted only by another’s body or scent. Yet even here too, variation is muted by familiarity and dailiness, by eating the same paste, until the tiny harvests of something different in the small garden. The ritual of the arrival of tomatoes, their acrid stench is an intrusive delight. Each kernel of multicolored corn is savored, tiny, we knew, from records of what they were on Urth. The Japanese sweet potatoes are exquisite to tastebuds informed by sameness. The sameness was a danger no one had anticipated. There was no unexpected breeze, no insect song, no bird chatter, no leaf rustle, nothing uncontrolled or unanticipated outside the once-ordinary wonders of the garden.

our eyes starved for color
fights erupt in the ship’s garden
to touch purple eggplant

—Akua Lezli Hope