Return to Sender / Luke Larkin


Photograph by rOMAN rIVERA

It didn’t take long for the young probe’s change of heart. Doubt bloomed like rust on its titanium skeleton just past Pluto. All those stars. All that nothing. Forever was a long way to go. A single thruster whispered. Thirty-six thousand miles per hour became thirty, and as the thruster continued to whisper, became fifteen, none. Stillness, reverse. The journey home was slower by a measure of centuries, but it beat the alternative. Finally, when the engineers that designed the probe’s infinite demise were long dead, the stellar explorer hit Earth’s atmosphere and burst like a firework generations after launch

Luke Larkin is an MFA candidate at the University of Montana. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in HAD, Popshot, Funicular, and others. He also helps out with CutBank.

Roman Rivera is a wildlife photographer based in Boulder, Colorado.