I Watch Star Trek So I Don’t Throw Myself Under a Bus

Have I become cynical? Probably. Anxiety
mounts the horse of optimism and drives

her into the ground. There is no here here
and I am trapped in the melody of mountain

and river, swimming through coal mine run off
and the butt of a rifle in a duffle bag. Maybe

there’s a better way forward. I look to the great
bald one, mon capitan, ready to blaze through

supernovas, Dyson spheres, and ethical dilemmas,
more concerned with right than pleasing admirals.

There may be hope in a human like that, but even
that fiction cannot resist fracture and break: the Borg

and Maquis remind that resistance is never futile. I worship
the future, yes, but the harder I stare at that horizon,

the more I wonder whether the prime directive—non-
interference at all costs, even loss of entire worlds—

is just a reaction to the first go around when hands
were lopped off in praise of capitalism, gold, rubber—

the works. I want starships and first contact and a united
federation. But we can’t even agree on how much of David’s

marble genitalia can be displayed in a classroom even
though those pubes were public for over five centuries.

How can we greet Vulcans when we are barely ready
to shake our neighbor’s hand, tell him that we like his

Free Palestine t-shirt and ask where he got those lovely
yellow flowers, whether he can give us a few seeds?

Amy M. Alvarez is the author of Makeshift Altar and co-editor of Essential Voices: A COVID-19 Anthology. Her poetry has appeared in Ploughshares, the Missouri Review, Crazyhorse, and New Ohio Review.

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