Mars 1-3

by Vivian Boss

I.

We are cherubs, chubby cheeked with buck teeth

Just us, just born

We are geeked!

Everything for us is justice and custard

Why not

 

We ride by on a paper nautilus doing belly slides through the inky skies

Circling Uranus, giggling, and marbling patterns past Saturn to see the sun rise

 

We play like this for some time, dodging heavenly bodies to see the big gold prize together

We only go as far as the gas globe of heathers though

It is too hot to trot the way we do, so we stay in the cold,

Okay with only letting a little glow wash over our faces like light snow

 

One day we realize we have sighed, so we know we must try

We look at each other with toothy grins and double chins

We should go to the sun to see what that’s like, we decide

 

We give our ride a little nudge with our pudgy toes, and

Off

We

Go!

 

We fly into the infinite night despite knowing that others might fry up

Howling happy tunes at passing moons like neophyte wolf pups

 

We blizzard by black holes, scissoring through invisible figures of blue tongued lizards while we

cuddle and nuzzle our peach fuzz because we are just loving buzzing so much!

 

We touch our mouths and come to a screeching halt when we see the third rock and the moon of salt

We look at each other with wide eyes and wobbly thighs

We realize where we are, how close we are to the star, and we sit for a bit

We know this is it

 

II.

So we thought it would be fun if we just shot straight into the sun, right

 

We were wrong

 

The heat was

 

The heat was

So

 

Strong

 

By Venus, the heat had come between us and we could see that this may have been a bad idea

But we were charging so hard

And we had come so far

Both of us wanted to be Hercules

By Mercury, though, it didn’t matter any more

We were sore and scorched

Our faces had become raw and tortured, piles of muscles

 

The light was quick, washing us in thick concentration

We feigned elation with our waxen eyes and pushed on until everything was flaxen imagination

 

Rays began to rise above us and then it was far beyond too late to abort mission, far beyond too late to start wishing for ego submission

The rays snapped back and cracked like whips into our ringlets and hips

We jerked back, swerving past flicking flame tongues, flailing our delicate fists

We skid, trying to turn our nautilus around before we burnt to a crisp

 

(Why couldn’t we have just stayed in the cold?! Just stay in our bliss?)

 

We hurry backwards in a blur of steam and fury

Past Mercury

Making a stream of slurry smoke rings behind us

Past Venus

 

We swerve a bit too hard, tumbling; our burnt nautilus is crumbling

We know we are not going to get very far

So we roll over and settle for Mars

 

III.

We roll out onto the pomegranate planet

Our ride is down for now, we’re stranded

Wavy, red hills expanded across the desert forever

This is not how we planned it

 

We turn towards each other and touch foreheads

Our brows furrow as we forget what’s important

 

We bare our teeth and we speak our piece

“This is your fault!”

“I could have if you hadn’t,” we decide

Then we take turns kicking each others’ shins and putting sand in each others’ eyes

 

You throw a punch into my fleshy hand, and I to yours

I shove you down to the floor, but I fall to all fours

I grip your throat, you grip my throat

“You are not stronger than me!” we boast

So we start sparring, thinking that we’re Spartans even though we’re just baby Martians

You’re on top, I’m on top

You’re on top, I’m on top

Fumbling stupidly in a steady unsteadiness until our nautilus comes to

 

It scoops us up and glides us to the cool black space that once was everything we knew

(Whew!)

We thought all would be as it once was, before we doubted its worth

But no,

The nautilus stopped, tipped back, and we fell,

Spiraling straight into

This hell called Earth