I will not take the oath!

           from Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 2, Episode 20: The Emissary

Haven’t you heard the first rule, Worf? 
You never say I love you on the first date. 
Or at least, you never ask for 
forever after the first mate. We’re all here 

circling around one planetary orbit 
to another, just trying to find our own place
in the farthest ends of the ever infinite worlds.
I know, you’d say, “tlhIngan jIH”

but there’s something holographic in me, 
something in you, in all of us, that flickers 
as blood drips down from her palm to your arm. 
I get the impulse. When skin is to skin a pulsar 

I too would tilt my head up to the sky 
and growl. I’d want her to stay with me. 
To slay our enemies and then draw our blades 
at the other’s throat before we growl. Haven’t

you heard, Worf? Of the slow game: love 
poetry’s fullest flowering in the great expanse 
of untrekked space. So human
is trust, we inevitably orbit back around.

© Manahil Bandukwala