First Poet on Mars

MFL Mars Base ERV and MTSV

First Poet on Mars

When I was young, and loved a stirring tale,
science seemed simpler. Vast canals of teal
crisscrossed the Martian sands; forts in red tile
crowded the shores; and merchant ships paid toll
to row those waters, their holds full of tulle
and thyme. Or so we dreamed. But in the stale
air of this dead world, among these steel
domes, I’m breathless, grasping for a style
to speak an arid truth: that science stole
my box of dreams to use as its footstool.

—Lester Smith

(originally published in Verse Wisconsin 104)

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