APRIL 2020


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.


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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