• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 02

The Only Lizard on Mars

Under its crust there may be liquid oceans,
seas of forgotten things. We can't be sure
until we're in. We're tracking signs of life
pulsing on our screens like Christmas trees
glimpsed from the street, or those thin strings of gold
looped beneath planes at night. We just don't know.

There may be small boys sitting with crossed legs
on threadbare rugs, awaiting the transmission,
logging measurements with sticky fingers,
up past their bedtimes, listening to other worlds
like the one in the back of the TV,
its red-gold lodes, its smell of burning wire.

There may be unknown wars, conspiracies
clogging the lines about what really happened.
There may be stages with white-suited dancers
twirling weightlessly. There may be deserts
turning away their faces like tired women,
we dare not ask. Our histories are slow,

our maps are less exact than we would like,
the end is not in sight. There may be lizards
lounging on rocks, their bellies rainbow-coloured
like children's toys. There may be sleepy lovers
space-walking down dark halls to blazing doors,
we're just not sure. What we know is this:


The Only Lizard on Mars

the electricity beneath our skins,
our sparking synapses. We know that planets
and gods resist. Sleeping, we hear them whisper-
do not translate me. Do not get me wrong.
Please don't name me after a dead white man.
Leave me where I am. Do not kick up my dust.