Disclaimer: Star Trek is the property of Paramount/Viacom. This poem is the property of and is copyright (c) 1983 by Kathleen Resch.

Martyr Complex / The Alternative Factor

Kathleen Resch

Always the same

nightmare ending

hands at my throat

-flesh of my flesh-

agony of lungs imploded

from strangulation - fingers

embedded in flesh

my hands crushing

your throat and your hands

crushing mine

for eternity

your hands, an alien

part of my own body

with no possibility of death to

end this

sanity long gone and

memory and

purpose and


I awake each time

drenched in sweat.

Not me, I insist.

Not me.

But what of Lazarus?

There's never enough time to think things out.

I try not to explore the thought

that there might have been an alternative.

A phaser-blast to each

would have been more merciful.

It was his choice. Murdering monster?

He was insane at the last, as well.

Bones is always talking about

the guilt I feel over deaths.

Any deaths.

That, while natural, is naturally dangerous;

these guilds that

rear up to rend, their poisoned promises

could cripple and destroy me someday.

I don't think about it. Each time,

I win the battle. And so it waits, instead

to seize me

in my cabin's darkness

in the darkness of unexpected nights,

with a dozen faces, more,

drenched in red, and dying

at my command.

I am the Captain. And this,

my own private beast,

fanged and restless,

swollen with bad memory,

decomposed ghosts.

My dragon

to overcome. But not destroy.

Because the winnings in this battle are the loss of compassion, my own

definitions of humanity,

my ideals, hard-won,

when I outlived

Kodos' purge.

When thousands died,

And I did not.

Even in trade for relief of this pain,

my soul is not for sale.