Crash & Burn

a poem by Elancharan Gunasekaran

Lifted the steel lid and peered outside,
Yeah, we’re here. Red sand. Howling winds.

I say: we go. You say: Fuck no.
We’re here, on Mars. Command, do you copy?

I repeat, command do you copy? That’s right.
Whose idea was it again? Yeah, it was you.

The common man: we’re running out of resources.
Take me to the moon. Drill into the devil good.

The businessman: Let’s set up shop on Venus.
Take me to her. I’ll make her work for ME.

The religious fanatic: Sir, the planets need to be aligned.
Take me to the nearest star. I’ll convince them to behave.

We set out. Plotted the trajectory. Slingshot via gravity,
Hitchhiked a doomsday comet, accounting for everything except…

Fate. There was a fight onboard. Thirty light years into space.
We almost made it. We were this close. This close, I tell you.

Life systems collapsed. People pressed the wrong switches.
Human buttons. Burnt some feelings. Hurt some souls.

We were this close, to Earth-X. This close, I tell you.
Almost there. We ruined it. Human nature did it.

We just had to. Couldn’t resist the temptation. We were so at peace.
And at the very last moment. A civil war broke out. In space.

Not fair at all. We were thrown off-track. Scattered from the nearest
Travel array. We were this close. A new home awaited us on

Earth-fucking-X. We blew it. We light-jumped to the nearest exit.
The only exit that responded to our plight- Mars. Hostile. Barren.

A crimson paradise. If boring is your thing, Mars is for you.
If a life of solitude sounds good, Mars is for you. All for you.

My boots crunch the red sand. We’ve landed. I repeat. Contact with
Mars has been made. If you get our message, let us be. Don’t come

Looking for us. Give us some time to think. Some time to adapt.
Work this shit out. Work our issues. Resolve some conflicting egos.
We’ll be back, someday. Maybe even try to get to Earth-X, one day.

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