blackbirdonline journalSpring 2016  Vol. 15 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Victoria Crater, Mars

Witch hazel I boil
below the silver rim,
my moon roof dark, beading sweat

like a horse’s flank, from myth.
So what if Genghis Khan
worshipped nothing

but the sky?
I revere my own dark matter,
not just spittles of gas or light.

At dawn I chart my mood
across an analog screen,
sine wave hissing: a grass snake’s

S, neon green.
The desert—embered, hormonal—
takes its first inhale. The sun

rises mad, a cigarette’s end
poised above the canyon.


But all sols are the same. The grunt all morning,
rover wheels, friction
crossing the potholes. Damn this world!


Its forever adolescence,
face full of deep depressions, wounds.
Where terra once resigned itself—


laid its ugliness bare—
waxy grass, like Easter baskets’,
now sprigs up through the crater.


In truth, I’m not much for fresh
beginnings. My skin feels fragile,
a blown green glass. I believe


a body’s odor is better
than chemical cures, weapons
designed to wipe out the face.


So I live in fear of the next
bombardment, more waves
passing through the ground:


shatter cones and broken bowls
and my stone door rolling away.


No female can avoid
the Easter morning mandates:
bathe twice in something man-made,


waterless. Blot the blemish
with sterile hemp.
Apply the mineral mask, mica


colonizing us with that chaos
usually reserved for stars.


Unfold the pastel dress:
another cold year, passed. (How
many hours, with radiation and wind,


before this lace
unravels back to its brides?)
The acolyte girls circle


around the escarpment,
our skins reflecting
that uncertain light—


So beautiful! So alive! The crowd exclaims.
We flare. They call it spring.  

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