By Jesse William Olson
“Here’s more of it.” Mom scowls and gestures off the hiking trail.
“This was never part of the terraforming plan.”
The boy watches her pull three green flourishings, each topped with
unassuming white flowers, and shove them into a grocery bag. “Four
other inhabited moons in this system have garlic mustard already,” she
adds. “It just adapts and spreads, smothering all else. Nasty thing.”
They round a corner, and Mom’s face falls at the much larger white
blanket ahead. “Gotta start early. Fire is the only solution. Or
pesto. You know this is one of humanity’s oldest known cooking herbs?
I wish we knew if someone was spreading it on purpose or if it’s just
faulty decontamination processes for new arrivals. Nothing seems to
Through a gap in the trees, the boy watches construction on the
newest apartment unit, almost ready to hold the next batch of colonists.
Jesse William Olson (he/they) is a poet and author who spends significant time hiking, pointing out the names and smells of various native plants to friends, and sneaking away seeds and cuttings to work on re-wilding their yard in the Chicago suburb where they currently live. Jesse has two books of poetry on Amazon, speculative fiction on Patreon, and nonfiction articles on Medium. Most of their work includes a focus on the natural world, society, or unexpected points of view. Jesse is on Twitter as @jwo_writes.