You don’t miss the scent of water, everywhere, everywhere,
Until you’ll never see a lake, or stream, or mud puddle again.
– Graffiti on a Mars living quarters pod wall
It’s blue there. So very green.
All things reflective in water.
Black in rich soil. Tan in sand.
It’s colorless to a blackness here,
until pecked in echoes of dead
and dying stars, in hints of others
born in destruction, their dust
and planets, in light-devouring
It’s all those shades
of red you’d have expected, but
a butterscotch, too. Creamy
butterscotch dunes, so deadly.
Streaked browns, black burnish
crater rims, the swept tan flats.
The bluest sunrises and sunsets.
Rose skies the rest of your days.
Everything you dreamed. More.
Renaming on Mars
How long before we morph
words? What awaits newly the eyes
deserving monikers of their own?
Will an alphabet spring naturally
from sand and rocks? Or might
some new script system simply slide
off our tongues one morning
in the midst of a normal conversation
over breakfast about the day’s agenda?
Samples research, poetry prompts
suddenly mixed with sounds
especially resonant in sealed
oxygenated chambers or vacuumed
helmets and pressurized suits,
syntax given up, points assumed,
eyes focused in special purpose,
a planet silenced of its secrets.
You absolutely know
you’re alone out here.
But you know you’re not.
Like when you claimed
you didn’t believe in ghosts,
but did just enough, down
where it counts,
that when you felt that
shift of awareness
you didn’t second guess it.
And now it happens again.
And you look around, moving
your whole body since
the helmet hides the periphery.
Back on earth they used to say:
You don’t know what you don’t know.
But here, it’s more like,
you can’t see what you can’t see.
That movement reminds you
of how you did the same
back home, even without a suit
in that old house
where you tried, but failed,
spending the entire night.