by Martha Landman
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.
as we step out
Martian Gothic-looking houses
tall grass like sugar cane
but not a single gumtree.
Not a bank
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.