Feel loved. Don’t you? I do.
Maybe not the flaming sword,
not bungee-jumping hand in hand
down the Gorge on Bridge Day.
We’ll never be those kinds of folks
snorkeling for treasure in the murky sea.
Our passion lifts from whispers
in warming voice of reasonableness.
We talk & love, sing & love,
read poetry & love in any tongue.
We are Earth children learning to play
under the weight of gravity.
Beyond love as socialized hope &
genetic longing, beyond love
as Nietzschean struggle for power,
we find each other in late hours
when we, like suspects, best be silent,
can’t resist, & seek our peace in noise.
Could’ve gone for a swim before the atmosphere grew thin &
left stained photographic imprints of ex-oceans.
All that water settled into stationary crags, blurry faces
now resolved: formations natural, no less alien.
Had we visited then, we would’ve seen a stately pleasure dome
for microbes, sailboat built from the husk of one bacterium.
Mars might have bathed in minor life—as if life’s
ever a minor thing. Or a major one. Does this say more
about some grand purpose or meaninglessness & transience?
Who were the Martian prophets, who their bleak Camus?
Closing my eyes, I watch as water rises, adding questions.
Did Martian seas smell like swamps? coffee? acetone?
Were they pinkish, stretching toward a red horizon?
I hear their caps crumble & break against sky
as if that alone can stop them, & it does,
leeching air, stitching silence to the soil & stone.