Sunday, December 14, 2008

A red poem

I will ask you once more to count the days
back to the one when we fell, burning,
into the strange atmosphere of this world
where the weight of every object is wrong
and the distances between everything are fickle.
The night rain falls like sofas and anvils
and in the morning mountains have sprung up
in impossible places towards the horizon.
Our clocks here spin like the eyes
of cartoon characters struck on the head,
in our laboratory where none of the devices
do much but beep, and click, and beep.

Look up – to arrive we had to bisect
that lurid sky, swarmed with the very stars
that guarded the night of your birth,
though now they've been turned on their sides
and made false to even themselves. It is too bad,
but we are here and this will always
be the world where you held your neck out patiently
and let me taste your cupric skin
while we clenched each other inside our failing machine
and wondered what was howling
and banging at the hatch all night.

No matter – this is the mission we flew on,
and where we fell to, you and I, and perhaps
either one of those vicious suns, or maybe
the heat of our craft burning behind us
will scorch the shadows of us holding hands
forever and away across the rusted sand.

Mark Aiello