POETRY

APRIL 2020

2020-04_COVER.jpg

On a Mining Planet

by John Grey

At the gruff notes of our approach,
 

six rough-furred xoltl stand to attention
 

on the icy stream bank,
 

stare curiously and cautiously
 

at the glinting silver sheen
 

of our passing hover-truck.

 


 

Like everything near,
 

they are here – they are gone –
 

something else takes their place.
 

A vulture-like carnix pecking at
 

the flesh of something dead.
 

A gaggle of suited-up scientists
 

drilling through the planet’s carapace.

 


 

We hurtle toward the distant gray mountains,
 

a cluster of dead volcanoes
 

that look down on the layers of topsoil
 

they long ago created.

 


 

Loaded up with provisions for the mines,
 

we speed by miles
 

of white parabolas,
 

shapes carved by wind,
 

the remnants of an ancient village,
 

trees humbled by the weight
 

of snow on their branches.

 


 

Ore-vessels, huge as four-story buildings,
 

zip by in less than an instant,
 

headed for the smelters farther east.

 


 

An occasional local
 

peers out through the window of his hut,
 

his eyes jagged this way, that way,
 

by the passing traffic.
 

We leave him free to hunt
 

his apalox for meat, for furs,
 

to gather zig-wood for his fire.

 


 

He’s primitive like the rest of his kind,
 

in the very early stages of their evolution.
 

Meanwhile, we strip this world of the resources
 

they won’t be needing for ten thousand years or more.

END

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in That, Dunes Review, Poetry East and North Dakota Quarterly with work upcoming in Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, Thin Air, Dalhousie Review and failbetter.

Poetry by John Grey:

"Fruit" October 2020
"Aliens in the Home" October 2020
"On a Mining Planet" April 2020
"Take Off" and Beyond April 2020
"An Altair (First) Night" October 2019
"Dear Interplanetary Society" August 2019
"Expedition Beyond the Solar System" August 2019

© 2020 by Utopia Science Fiction

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