Jean–Luc, Future Ghost

She was going to be named Jean–Luc but she was not going to join the fleet.

Instead, she’d build the first starship to take us out of this galaxy;
we’d test this simulation with cardboard boxes in the yard
—the adventures would end with peanut cookies, lepat pisang,
and steamed chive dumplings as a reward for saving humanity
from the impact of imploding planets.

I would adjust your pigtails and your hand–embroidered dungarees,
Jean–Luc with sharp, inquisitive eyes and bandaged knees,
a tomboy like your mother occasionally was in her
vacillations between states of ontic presentation.

Like her, you contain the dreams of frontiers unfolding from frontiers
a fractal loop of infinite discoveries.

You were conceived only in my mind on the day I was frozen with fright
(a routine and precautionary medical examination
to root out hereditary demons within my blood)
my entire form petrified in confusion and despair
at possibilities I had not wanted to consider,
and decisions I was not ready to make.

“Do you want to have children?”—my doctor asked.
“I don’t know. I don’t know,” I murmured, barely understanding.

This mourning too was an apparition of the mother I would never be,
a role I would never play, an emotion I had no vocabulary to confine
nor encompass.

I denied your presence with the full weight of my steeled recalcitrance
—a sword of tears nestled within the sinew of my will.

Emotions too are ghosts.


Nin Harris

Nin Harris is an author, poet, and tenured postcolonial Gothic scholar who exists in a perpetual state of unheimlich. Nin writes Gothic fiction, cyberpunk, nerdcore post-apocalyptic fiction, planetary romances, and various other forms of hyphenated weird fiction. Nin’s publishing credits include: Clarkesworld, Uncanny Magazine, Strange Horizons, and Lightspeed. Nin is currently finalising Watermyth, the first novel of the Cantata of the Fourfold Realms mythic clockpunk fantasy sequence.

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