Moon Flu

5. Sara backer sm

Sara Backer


Moon Flu


Fear first. Fear sharpens the startle

of latches and footsteps behind you.


Hallucinations next. Eyes shut,

neon patterns swirl into maps that confuse

and attack you. Faint robot motors scream.

Spider webs begin to breathe.


Panic follows as your brain cells

warp and swell. You’ll sweat and shiver

for 30 hours that you’ll sense as days.

Nauseated, you may bleed through your ears.


You’ll want to rip out your life support.

Fight! Fight for each swallow of water.

Fight to stay in bed despite your impulse

to run. There is nowhere to go but Death.


And here on Mars, as Phobos and Deimos

circle round and round, you must muster

the will to deny all you feel, and trust

what we know: that this virus shall pass


and your brain will heal, but only if you

do nothing but breathe and sip and wait.




Sara Backer walks the woods in New Hampshire, finding the line between surreal and speculative. Winner of the 2015 Turtle Island Poetry Award for her hybrid chapbook Bicycle Lotus, her speculative poetry has recently been published in Asimov’s, The Pedestal Magazine, Gargoyle, Hermes Poetry Journal, Shooter Literary Magazine, Bracken, Mithila Review, Silver Blade, Illumen, and Strange Horizons.



Editor’s Notes: An image of Mars and its moons, Phobos and Deimos, from is collaged and overlaid with flu virus images from, which themselves appear quite alien.

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