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Return to Eden

by Scott Speck

 

Mars is such a quiet, peaceful world.
I stand and face the East
blue-purple sky tinted orange with sunrise.
Dry ice breezes stir dust from the surface
scraping a gentle hiss upon my faceplate.

Rocket hulls gleam dully in the Martian sunrise
the ground beneath them scorched from exhaust plumes
marking touchdown of our missionary bands.
Six billion of us stand about the scattered hulks,
empty now, their purpose fulfilled.

A gloved grip finds my left hand, then my right
as the human chain grows, a thousand links at a time.
Far above, Errand of Mercy orbits the world
Otto the pilot guiding the unmanned vessel upon its course.
Hastily painted letters mark the hull -- "Liberation."

I spy a chunk of silver gleam in the sky
as the sun peeks over Olympus Mons.
I squint, vision blurred with tears of joy.
The silver gleam becomes a shimmer, then a hurtling missile.
Targeted.

The missile's ceramic shield spits fire across the Martian dawn
as the craft plummets toward us and suddenly fragments.
A swarm of nuclear bees emerge
taking flight gracefully upon metallic wings
spreading across the sky like Spring raindrops.

They streak downward with mutual repulsion
spreading to outline petals of some immense flower
frictionally hot and aglow in sunlight, all at once.
The jeweled blossom opens to release its spray of pollen
as I close my eyes and receive Earth's forgiveness.

In the blink of an eye, a hundred suns fall upon us.
Radiant energy scours the landscape
portends the descending shockwave with blinding brilliance.
For a moment I feel warmth, then wind,
then ice fire, then nothing.

Beyond these flickers of Earth's freedom fire
across an immense gulf of airless silence
the blue-green World smiles, receives a kiss of Solace
for Her Errant Child's passing.
The natural order returns. Paradise regained.
Eden.*

 

Poem copyright 1998-99 by Scott Speck <speck@stsci.edu>
Artwork "
Pixel Space " copyright 1998-99 by Andrew G. McCann <PlanetMag@aol.com>


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