One day you will go to Mars, and I will not. I do not mean to sound bitter, because I am not bitter. I am just a little sad about it. What I mean is that I will be too afraid. I will be afraid of the close, sloped walls of the shuttle. I will be afraid of the void on the other side. I will be afraid of dying slowly, of radiation poisoning, of suffocation, of thirst. I will stay here, where I will also die, but in more familiar ways. I think you will do well on Mars. I can see you inhabiting its landscapes. Your face will be framed by the round O of your helmet as you cross the red rocks. You will take long walks in the dust every afternoon, stepping lightly in the low gravity, before returning to your geodesic dome. You will care for many plants. I can see you handling seedlings tenderly, your long fingers threaded through their roots. In one of the dreams I had about you, you sent me a postcard from very far away. It fell from the sky. I tracked the postcard to the mountains by triangulating its radio signals. The message said, “How are you? I am fine. Wish you were here.” That is how I knew it was a dream, because of the part where you wished I was there.

This story appeared in issue 6.1. Order it today.

A. Werner is semi-nomadic, but currently inhabits Western Massachusetts. She is an assistant editor to Unstuck, an Austin-based literary journal. Her work has previously appeared in Storyglossia. She can be found online at