Prose Header

The Sea Serpents of Mars

by Ken Poyner

Long hours they burrow in the sand,
Their scales now tuned to
Parting gravel, their skulls
Worn into prying needles, each
Flipper now a shovel face, friction
Their habitation much like once
Were gliding, seascape and translucent shimmer.

They seem kings to the worms.

All night and day they gather,
Collections of startled burrowing
Creatures, a dry feast of native species:
Their tastes adapting, their physiology
Unhappy, yet willing. What else
Can they do? The soil is warm,
The prey sustainable, motion a labor,
And love in the rocks more work than passion.
Nonetheless, they persist. Yet,
With each dive into sheltering soil, sand or gravel,
They remember their seas — the currents
And wash and ease of motion — then stretch
As closely to buoyancy as they can
And, without tears, mourn past planetary acts
Of unchecked blindly cruel evaporation.

Copyright © 2020 by Ken Poyner

Proceed to Challenge 876...

Home Page