That's Far Enough

by Tim Jones

Unexplained force acts to slow Pioneer and other deep-space probes [news]

Like rotifers in a puddle
staring at the sky
we can look but not touch

It's gentle at first
that force
but insistent

stay within the solar system
and no harm will come to you
you will be allowed the illusion of freedom

but stray too far
and we will have to take steps

nothing unpleasant, you understand
but the subtle application of a force
additional to gravity

gentle at first
but insistent
that force

till you slow,
stop, and return
to whence you came

bearing news:
the Universe is not for you
some things are sacred

First published in Boat People.
Copyright © 2002, Tim Jones

Pioneer 10

Artist's rendition of Pioneer 10

Tim Jones lives in Wellington, New Zealand. He divides his time between writing, being a husband and father, and content management work. His first collection of fiction, Extreme Weather Events, was published in 2001, and poetry collection Boat People followed in 2002. With Mark Pirie, he is currently editing an anthology of New Zealand science fiction poetry. To find out more about Tim's writing, please visit his website.

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Image courtesy of NASA/Donald E. Davis