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Captain Picard Returns to Duty After Being Kidnapped by the Borg
Mary Ann Honaker


He is at first baffled that the after-affects
aren't more severe.  “It's normal

to experience...” begins Counselor Troi,
and his ears' mute button is pushed,

his thoughts are tossed and unraveled
like toilet paper on Halloween.

Perhaps he began life broken.  Perhaps
like Worf, his people are not his people,

his home is not his home.  He wanders
the ship's corridors, eying the crimson bead

of gleam his passage makes.  His uniform
is the reddest thing about him, the most

real.  Undressed, he's invisible, not even
the ripple of a force field on the air.

Later, he'll remember a deep sharp canyon
in his lifeline, the before and after.

How his boots rang hollow on the floor,
how long before he made weight

in them again.  How many years
of life lived like scattered atoms

dispersed mid-transport, not
materializing not materializing and then

materializing, but where? He'll touch
his chest: a body in a suit.  But whose

body?  So little difference between
a voice from  the com on his chest

and his own voice, answering.
Captain, Captain.  Please acknowledge.

How long he's most at home
on the holodeck, accompanied by a lady

no more solid than an echo, drinking synthehol
in diffuse bar light, like everyone he meets

only pretending to get tipsy, only pretending
to get angry, to feel interested, to be real. 

Mary Ann Honaker is the author of It Will Happen Like This (YesNo Press, 2015). Her poems have appeared in 2 Bridges, The Dudley Review, Euphony, Juked, Off the Coast,Van Gogh’s Ear, The Lake, and elsewhere. Mary Ann holds a BA in philosophy from West Virginia University, a master of theological studies degree from Harvard Divinity School, and an MFA in creative writing from Lesley University.