The planet Mars. One million years ago. Now move α degrees north. You see pyramid forms squatting in a large, depressed area. Yellowish, okra-colored. Severe clouds moving in, more like a dust storm. A geologic problem apparent. Towers of glassy surfaces and straight angles blown down. Shadows of steeples, tall and thin. Deep inside a canyon, sheer walls that go on forever in huge sections of sleek stone. The gusts stride on overhead. An obelisk at the end of a very long avenue. Ripped up and thrown like a javelin. Now move β degrees west. In the middle of a circular basin, you see a cluster of square shapes flush with the ground, radiating patterns of some kind, reflecting electric light, the gist of it. They etch channels, intersect aqueducts, carve roadbeds. Pointed corners misty, vague. Now move γ degrees north. A shelter from the gale. A chamber stripped of furnishings. People hibernating. In light silk, cut to fit. Ancient citizens, dying, past their epoch or age. Looking for a way to survive and they just can’t. So they’re waiting for a group who went to find someplace new. To escape their failing planet. Now move. All very cosmic, like kids’ pictures of space. Rockets with comet tails. Globes with facial expressions. You go with them on their journey. To a place with volcanos and gas pockets. A volatile plane, but with plants! Strange plants! Never seen such green. Emerald green. Sage green. Olive green. Pea green. Mint green. Fern green. Basil green. Moss green. Lime green. Pear green. Pickle green. Cactus green. Shamrock green. Pistachio green. Seaweed green. Seafoam green. Frog green. Alligator green. Crocodile green. Parakeet green. Juniper green. Pine green.
Matthew Gwathmey lives in Fredericton, New Brunswick, on Wolastoqey Territory, with his partner Lily and their five children. He studied creative writing at the University of Virginia and recently completed his PhD at UNB. His second poetry collection, Tumbling for Amateurs, is forthcoming with Coach House Books.
The Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan