Friday 30 December 2016

Poem: 'Mars Is A Robot World'


even planets rust…
Opportunity touches down on
Meridiani Planum, 25 January 2004,
then 9 March 2005, Spirit Rover pauses
to see a vortex of dust devils spin by,
Curiosity sets down, Bradbury Landing
6 August 2012 in Aeolis Palus…
now Mars is a robot planet, where
each and every small soft apocalypse
 that falls, is seen and calibrated,
a sniff that tastes thin Martian air,
lenses that glimpse the pale green star
recorded forever beyond returning,
treads etch patterns in tumbled grit,
encrypting it into the topography,
setting up ghost-ripples in dead rivers
immersing in shimmering tides
 within the memory of shallow pools,
in evidence-trails of evaporation
left across a rim of scars, in a
squiggly striation-chain of eddies,
transient in the endless curve,
warping whims of hardpan where
soft wind is the only other sculptor…

in a million years from now
others will enter this star drift
seeking us and find no trace,
but for stilled machines
on this rusted planet…

Published in:
‘ASIMOV’S SCIENCE FICTION no.485 (Vol. 40 No.6)’ 
June (USA – May 2016)


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