A Parallel Uni-Verse
Data Entry Position Available on the Enterprise
By Gus Peterson
As I make a cost adjustment to an order
right before lunch, I find my mind orbiting

away from the original idea of this poem –
something about the shuttered spearheads

of flowers on the bush outside looking like
a phalanx of hoplites – and wondering if

someone on the starship
Enterprise had my job.
Not pricing, leveraging cost or cold calling,

just a position where I am the middle man
between some nebulous pile of information and

its metamorphosis onto the computer terminals
they were always tapping at to paint

a picture of what was outside and around, whether
it was a gas or tachyons or supported sentient life.

Sometimes I think that would be more fulfilling
than reality, despite what would most surely be

my low rank of ensign, and a tendency to be
the first one vaporized on risky away missions

or the only crew member sucked out into
the vacuum of space when a hole is blasted

through engineering. I could deal with that,
that pervasive, palm sweating phobia of ensigns,

because on all the other star dates which do not
involve villains with an agenda or photon torpedoes,

I may help to uncover a new life form, cure a disease,
map a previously unknown star system.

So I don’t think it is too bold to go and say
that this certainly would be more satisfying

than faxing you, our valued customer,
this month’s holiday special on welding consumables.

Gus Peterson lives in Randolph, Maine. He has read his poems on the WERU Writers Forum.
By Gus Peterson
for Leonard Nimoy

In a way, we all are.
Rising from the orbit of dreams,
we shower and warp
into the workday --
those stoic, calculated courses
we've gone before,
running the diagnostics
and procedure keeping
the vessel of us propelled,
one mission at a time,
through the space
of another week where
for an hour at least
we are entirely human --
fascinating in our love,
our rage, our sorrow
with its tears that fall
like shooting stars
across the lens
of night.

Gus Peterson lives in Randolph, Maine. His recent collection is When the Poetry's Gone.