A Year on Mars
is nearly twice as long as a year
on Earth. It takes the Red Planet
687 Earth days to circle the sun —
nearly as long as I orbited you
before I began to degenerate.
You must be awfully affable,
having befriended time — and such
a flamboyant wardrobe! Remember
our first date? An illustrated lecture
on the sex lives of ancient Romans?
You learned that I am no classicist —
can’t tell an urn from a cistern,
column from ruin and slept through
the dawn of the sundial. I discovered
the duration of a perfect year:
according to Plato, 36,000 years,
his calculations ideal, at best.
That would have been some courtship!
Thus began the infancy of our détente,
when I stopped wearing isinglass and
eyelet and began this igneous adventure.
During lunch hours, to please you,
I searched for a true red, an ipse dixit
ipso facto. During the Iron Age, a period
of ruddiness that I recall only vaguely
as this low-carb diet affects short-term
memory, everyone was annoyed, hurling
invectives and bumping into the sun
while waves swarmed the shore: not the idyll
you detailed in your notorious memoir
and I am not that palled, triple-jointed
lass stranded on that mythic isthmus.
I was always called upon to break
through the line — Red Rover, Red Rover —
because I was bloodless, cool to the touch.
How long it takes to say, “ice…” —
nearly a full year on Mars with that
tall drink of a vowel and lazy sibilant.
At this rate, we shall need Plato’s full
allotment to know what each other
is capable of — stranding a preposition,
widowing a noun — while Mission Control
is still giving orders and perfection is
so far away.
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