top of page

Visiting Mars

We slide out of Earth’s atmosphere

in an upholstered Tesla, solar powered.

The driver stands all the way 

in his cubicle, sheds no light

on the passengers’ speculations 

what was and is on the red planet—

NASA’s temporary space station, 

dilapidated Russian camps,

smaller countries’ claims.

The sudden change in skyscape vistas, 

sharp drops in the UV index as

we move closer to the dim light.

We marvel

as we step out


              Martian Gothic-looking houses 

              Khoisan click-consonants 

              Karoo shrubs

              tall grass like sugar cane 

but not a single gumtree.

              Not a bank 

              gas station

              or bottle shop.

In broad brimmed hats

locals carry on their business,

tend their windfarms as if we aren’t here.

My jittery, nosy companions 

want to travel further.

              I want to stay here 

                       in the twilight.

Martha Landman writes in Adelaide, South Australia, on Kaurna land. Her work appears in anthologies and journals in the UK, US, Australia, and South Africa. Her chapbook, Between Us, was published by Ginninderra Press in 2019. She was shortlisted for Emerging Older Voices in Queensland in 2021. Her first single collection, Like Scavenger Birds, has been published by ICOE press in June 2023.

bottom of page