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Under Mars

by DavidKM




Life goes on - following the residual heat

on its terminal Journey to the Center.

Cities the size of countries,

abandoned millennia ago,

desiccated and compressed,

conceal deeper and far greater metropoli

whose inhabitants have forgotten surface

and sun in their pursuit of the

dwindling warmth about which

revolves their world.


The arts glorify conduction, thrift, adaptation,

or bemoan the vampiric seduction of heat by the

cold, dry regions

from which the People have been inexorably


Legends never speak of sky, stars, open spaces,

but tell only of a time when the tunnels throve -

heat was plentiful,

water ubiquitous,

and gravity strong,


Once, an expedition was sent to the high regions -

to seek out the ancestral tunnels wherein the People had been born.

Through the miles of desiccated necropoli the seekers climbed,

struggling with ever-increasing weight, collapsed tunnels, cold, and drought.

The survivors turned back after a 1,000-mile trek into

the frigid immensities of abandoned graveyards,

still untold miles from their unrecognized goal.




On the surface, colonists from the third planet

huddle under domes, tailor lichens, marvel at red stony vistas.

There are no ruins -

the tenuous atmosphere has obliterated them.

The two races can never meet, never suspect each others' presence

one on, and one within, the cooling corpse of the red planet.



100th Weekly Poetry Contest