A solitary red-orange warning light
blinks in the tasteful panel of brushed steel
singing out a dirge in idiot code.
Deadly color splashes against the keys
of the keyboard even as the crew sleeps.
Minutes still before alarm klaxons
And in the cabins you can hear the sound
Of young lovers, bathed in fluorescent light
and sweat. Naked, arms akimbo, one sleeps.
One trembles in recycled air, his steel
gray eyes on the third as if he had keys
to paradise. The third boy knows the code
to the others' hearts and he knows the code
to all their bank accounts. He sighs, a sound
softer than thunder. If he holds the keys
to anything, it's lust, despite the light
around him and the gaze of the boy with steel
gray eyes and the trust of the boy who sleeps.
No small thing, the trust of the boy who sleeps,
his fragile heart beats in a secret code,
cryptic, hidden as if locked behind steel
vault doors. The ship shudders, he makes a sound,
and curls his arms beneath him. Soon, the light
and noise will wake him. Shrill shrieks in high keys
sharper than dull, humming machines. Keys
designed to wake a tired crew who sleeps
indolently. Then, the blaze of bright light
pulsing in a desperate rescue code.
But now, there's still only the steady sound
of breaths and the machines rumbling in steel
cases. And smoothly the boy with the steel
gray eyes stands. His gaze sweeps across the keys
to their door. He moves without any sound
near the third, away from the boy who sleeps,
a confession on his lips, "there's a code
of honor in this--" up blazes the light.
In high, sharp keys resounds the warning code.
the crew no longer sleeps in cubes of steel.
they wait for the awful light without sound.