Trash Picker on Mars


 
In the dim time before dawn
the woman clamped her metal
fingers over a beer bottle.
Her buckets overflowing with
litter from a dying world,
she sat and stared at the
alien landscape of asphalt.
The stars had all faded
except for the one red light
of Mars still defying the sun.
The woman smiled at the
mythical planet now
defrocked of its canals and
green men by Carl Sagan
and the Legion of Reason.
But still she dreamed.
In her electric cart she glided
over the red-gold deserts
of ancient Barsoom—
past  the fairy towers
of Grand Canal and the
monoliths of Helium where
a once great race of Martians
lived, played and died—
filling the canyons of
Valles Marineris with the
excess of their empty lives.
Out of habit she picked up a
fluted green shard, then
laughed and flung it along
with her buckets into the
trash heap of lost Martians.
Through the dark grottoes of 
Great Rift Valley she roved to
the shores of Mare Sirenum,
whose salty crust reminded her
of past ruins and distant times
when she could still cry.
For a moment she stared at the
sun, weak and small as it
rose above Olympus Mons,
igniting her in a ruddy glow.
She was the Princess of Mars
and there were still a few
unhatched eggs inside her.
And at the edge of
Candor Chasm she
bared her heart to the
silent, scouring winds.
Then into the dawn
she drove to begin her
new race of Martians.