THE COLONY CAPTAIN’S JOURNAL • by Camille Alexa

On this first wondrous day of planetfall
we danced and sang and drank
(perhaps too much)
and had all the stars and the gods to thank
for bringing our ship to this place: New Earth.

On this eleventh day of planetfall
we lost our first young colonist
–a cut–
small thing to cause a death; he will be missed.
His father sobs at night and so do I.

On this twenty-ninth day of planetfall
we begin to plant our crops
(ten thousand
bags of seed!) and if this rain ever stops
we’ll see what can survive this loamy soil.

On this one-hundredth day of planetfall
the rain began to lighten.
(Lung Rot and
Fungus have set in–our coughs would frighten
a decent Earthside doctor:   we have none.)

On this three-hundredth day of planetfall
we’ve had to accept the fact
this soil’s not
arable.   The ship’s gone; torn up, ransacked;
it’s now shovels, hovels, and spoons…we’re trapped.

During this second year of planetfall
our fourteenth crop did stall–
we eat our dead
as a matter of course. Gods help us all
and have mercy on our pitiful souls.

…I’ll call this my tenth year of planetfall.
It’s good as any other and
as bad.
I glimpsed my sole rival today, my hand
rose of its own accord to wave: I had
for one moment thought myself not sinner,
but leader of free people, not
this wreck,
this speck of lonely animal dust, hot,
and tired, and soon, that other man’s dinner.


Camille Alexa blows a raspberry in rigid genre classification’s general direction.   She lives with a man and some dogs and the occasional cat or other random furry creature in beautiful Portland, Oregon.   She writes.   When she can, she publishes.   Her fiction and poetry appear or are forthcoming in several print and on-line anthologies and periodicals.   Camille is a full member of Broad Universe and writes for The Green Man Review.


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Every Day Fiction

  • Oonah V Joslin

    Well as one who tends to set at nought genre classifications myself, and as a writer of both poems and dare I say, vignettes, I liked this very much and I’m sure Camille, you will like my Clear and Cold when it comes up in Bewildering Stories. Similar theme.

  • We don’t usually publish poetry, but this had all the hallmarks of a great story. Clear character arc, great plot development, and a compelling theme.

    I could really feel the Captain’s pain, imagine it happening. Well done, Camille!

  • Enjoyable story,
    I like the story arc.

  • Harley

    I’m glad Jordan and Camille decided to allow poetry for this one. I enjoyed it a lot.

  • Pingback: “The Colony Captain’s Journal” up today at Every Day Fiction « Camille Alexa()

  • Niiice, Camille!

    The progression of each entry was strong in atmosphere and foreshadowing. You got me with ending because I thought the narrator was going to be the eater, not the meal.

    Very enjoyable.

    ~Heidi

  • rumjhum

    I couldn’t get to this story earlier as my system had crashed. But I have to write that this is one of the most powerful pieces of experimental fiction or poetic fiction that I’ve recently read. Looking forward to more! 🙂

  • It’s interesting (and very rare) to find such a complete and complex story laid out in poetic form. This piece definitely blurs the line between story and poem.

  • Ha, well done! Succint, spooky, self-aware, sexy, speculative – all the hallmarks of successful genre lit.

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