VISIONS OF THE FUTURE: MARS
after “Mars” from NASA JPL’s travel poster series
Dear friends, we invite you to dream of a red planet
where nothing is impossible. Look out the window
of your space suit; marvel at the wonders we have
to offer. Climb the towers spiraling against the moon,
and see how, just beyond the horizon of this planet,
how large we have become in such a vast void of space.
Feast your eyes on how tall the grass grows
and our crops flourish in this seemingly uninhabitable land.
Join our rank of robotic pioneers, and set out to explore
new worlds– all yours, if you would like. All this could be yours.
If you so choose, you can make a new home here.
Someday we will look back at Earth and you won’t miss
how long it took to grow detached. Instead, stay a while.
If you can make it past the vertigo and the heartache
and the realization that abandoning Earth before immolation
does not make you a hero but a coward, you can have all of this,
you conqueror and colonizer of worlds. As much as I believe
in brighter tomorrows, I also know how to remember history.
I know you dream of red futures. Have you ever considered
that birth begets blood, be it yours or your bloodstained hands?
Stephanie Tom is currently a student at Cornell University. A Pushcart Prize nominee and winner of the 2019 Poets & Writers Amy Award, her poetry has appeared in Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Sine Theta Magazine, Hobart, Honey Literary, and The Margins, among other places. She is the author of the micro chapbook Travel Log at the End of the World (Ghost City Press, 2019) and the forthcoming chapbook My Heart is a Mausoleum but Only Out of Necessity (Glass Poetry Press, 2022). When she’s not writing she dabbles in dance and graphic design. You can read more of her work at stephtom.weebly.com.