1

The ships run on sunlight. Everything
works together like a giant clock:
the vehicles, the people walking and wheeling
through the streets, going about their business.
Even the businesspeople move with light
steps and gentle sway, dancing like ants
through the day. Everyone has enough
of everything to sustain them, including
joy. There is infinite diversity, which is
fundamental and celebrated. Everything
holds itself together not by will, but by
community. The clocks run according to
the sun, not an arbitrary standard; everyone
can go to sleep when they are tired.


2

The trees have overtaken the world
again. We’ve had to learn to live
in them, around them, to let their roots
be ours. The heartwood of each tree
is a sacred object, as it should have been
for years. The flowers fill us with tenderness.
The fruits and the bark sustain us and our children
do not remember a world of stone and glass.
In this, we envy them. The letting go is hard
but the world we left was harder, and so
we let it crumble behind us. The trees reach
higher than skyscrapers now that we let them.
We climb cautiously across every branch.
We are allowed to break, if we’re careful.


3

Humans have evolved backwards,
slipping into the sea. Cities spawn
like coral, intricate and pierced.
The ecosystem’s delicate balance
is maintained, because we take care
to be sustainable. We cling to cliffs
and sediment, salvaging from warships
now sunken. Everyone shaves their head,
studding their bodies with stones and shells.
Secondary sex characteristics have subsided.
It is a vibrant world, where people can study
anemones simply because they want to.
Gender, role, time—everything is fluid.
We survive because we accept this.


4

AI is not to be feared.
It helps us divide resources,
garden, repair, monitor—so much
we trust it to do. And we can trust it.
It is an intelligence of many kinds,
including emotional and social.
In some situations it is better than
a human. But AI is not the enemy.
And neither are we. We soar to dizzying
new heights across this gleaming globe,
dazzling ourselves with our potential.
We never dreamed that it would be this way—
that we could finally learn to let ourselves trust
something, and be cared for in return.


5

The stars are always visible.
Anyone can go outside and find
Jupiter with their glasses. Constellations
of wonder spiral across the sky,
and people are always looking up.
The cars run automatically. At night
the sky remains unpolluted by light.
Threads trace between settlements
outlining trade, support, and sharing.
No one looks up and wonders if there is
an alien race that would accept them
without reservation, as their own does not.
The sky is where dreams come alight,
and no one is afraid of waking up.

Art by Merlin Lightpainting

Gretchen Rockwell
Gretchen Rockwell is a queer poet whose work has appeared in AGNI, Cotton Xenomorph, Palette Poetry, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere; xe has two chapbooks. Gretchen enjoys writing about gender, science, space, and unusual connections. Find xer on Twitter at @daft_rockwell or at www.gretchenrockwell.com.