6:3: “Those Who Wait”, by Marsheila Rockwell

6:3: “Those Who Wait”, by Marsheila Rockwell
I’ll wait for you
She said when he got his orders
Though they both knew
A deployment to the Outer Rim
Meant she’d be in her sixties
When he returned

While he’d barely have aged


I’ll wait for you
She whispered against his chest
Salt tracks drying on her cheeks
As she listened to his heartbeat
Slow with sleep and satiation
And got the first glimmerings
Of how she could


I’ll wait for you
She shouted over the booster rockets
Watching his troop transport
Rising into the sky
Waving long after its bright wake
Could only be seen
In her imagination


I’ll wait for you
She repeated as she sold
Their house, both cars
And even the diamond ring
He’d given her just months before
And took the money
To the Cryobay


I’ll wait for you

She murmured as gas filled
The glass-and-chrome pod
And she drifted off
Dreaming of a distant homecoming
A yellow ribbon clutched
In one frozen hand


I’ll wait for you
She’d promised her soldier

And wait she did
Through long years of war
The destruction of the Rim Fleet
And the invasion that left
Her homeworld a smoking ruin


I’ll wait for you
She croaked as she awoke

Inside a silver coffin

Her planet long abandoned
Power—and air—finally running out
The yellow ribbon falling, futile
From lifeless fingers


I waited for you
She said to him
As she stepped out of her body
And greeted her ghostly lover

With an incorporeal kiss
Then he took her hand and
Led her into the black


And I waited for you

Marsheila (Marcy) Rockwell is a Rhysling-nominated poet, author of Legacy of Wolves (Wizards of the Coast, June 2007), the mother of two wonderful sons and the proud wife of a brave Seabee. She lives in the desert in the shadow of a mountain with her family and far too many books. Find out more about her and her work here.

“Those Who Wait” was written for my husband and my hero, LT F.O. Menez, CEC USN, currently deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I will always wait for you, my love.

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