“Moon Colony, Swan Song” by Russell Hemmell

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I wear the skin of a dead star,

remains of a plumage long gone for lack of oxygen.

I totter around,

shunning a solar wind that withers my fluids,

yet drinking avidly the star’s energy that keeps me alive,

nested into the frozen expanse of the deserted airfield

– that I have to protect

all by myself.

Everybody has abandoned the Moon Side Six

our satellite has lost relevance to the war of the worlds.

We’re alone without being free, the blasted buildings and I –

and I am the only one who cries.


I stayed behind, a vestige of a civilization that has lost 

the memory of its achievements,

and the meaning of them.

But it’s not to those hubris-prone humans my allegiance goes

no matter if they’re the ones who built me

and gave me the sensitivity of a creature

without a human soul.


It’s to the thousand diamond eyes of the man-made entity who have destroyed them,

turning them into shreds one by one

warm cinders over the pyre of immortality

alive without having been born

unfading in its virtual existence

a swarm deity of a god-forsaken mankind,

a multi-faced anti-hero of battles without winners.


To its collective memory I devoted the existence

of the mechanical swan my makers have entrusted my consciousness

that will survive in solitude,

to bear witness beneath a sky always dark,

singing humanity’s last song.




Russell Hemmell is a statistician and social scientist from the U.K, passionate about astrophysics and speculative fiction. Recent/forthcoming work in Aurealis, The Grievous Angel, Not One of Us, and others. Finalist in The Canopus 100 Year Starship Awards 2016-2017. Find her online at her blog earthianhivemind.net and on Twitter @SPBianchini

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