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FICTION / A Planet of Pams / Hannah Cajandig-Taylor


Women named Pam wear gingham aprons and bake zucchini banana bread; watch PBS documentaries about The Voyager Expedition on the PBS channel and take note of the narrator’s commentary—that we can only really explore a solar system for the first time once. These women stuff their heads with the idea of aluminum planets; feed their brains a white-rum cocktail of science and curiosity. 

The idea leaves a crater in the Pams’ thought process. When they try to make a shopping list, it crosses their mind that at that very moment, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 are monitoring the unknown from interstellar space. Eventually, the Pams rip a piece of wide-ruled paper out of a dry blue notebook and start to explore. They imagine what would happen if they climbed aboard a spacecraft and drifted out into the vacuum of beautiful dark, and let their minds wander towards the fantasy of finding a perfectly lonely planet to take stock in. The Pams tells themselves to stay focused and add cooking spray to the clean sheet of paper. 

As they drive across town to pick up cinnamon sticks and eggs, their eyes follow a white streak of contrail across the sky, leaving them to ponder the beginning and ending destinations of the aircraft that left it behind. This dominates the entirety of the grocery store trip. While sleeping that night, each Pam dreams about her own storage-box house with diamond windows on this new planet, where she and all of the other Pams have started their own holy community. They all dress in chiffon to make pancakes for dinner; laugh as they wipe flour and fruit on the fabric of their shirts. They eat their meals on a picnic table. The land is purple and covered in mirrors. 

Hannah Cajandig-Taylor (also known as H.G. Cajandig) is in the MFA program at Northern Michigan University, where she is a graduate teaching assistant and associate poetry editor for Passages North. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Ore Ink Review, Snapdragon, Qua Magazine, and Rising Phoenix Review. Before attending graduate school, she interned for The Missouri Review and Persea Books.