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Friday, March 24, 2006


by David Chorlton

The mission takes off. We shall wait
for years before a message comes back,
flying through the holes in a six
and nine noughts to tell us what exists
on a planet named for the ancient god
of the underworld. By the time
we know about the balance
of rock and ice on Pluto, we shall have news
from Earth about rising tides
and how much air
is safe to breathe. There will be cheers
at ground control
as the weather is announced: three hundred and fifty
Fahrenheit below zero. Perhaps the technology
will exist to import some of the cold,
to bring it back through space
and unpack it for distribution in our polar regions
so the ice will freeze again. At thousands of miles
every hour, technology’s miracle
travels the distance of our imagination
while vehicles on their cross-town drives
exhale the scent of slow destruction
as they head to the latest shopping mall
for a sale, to save what can be saved
at a late hour, even
if it’s only money.

David Chorlton was born in Austria, grew up in England, and spent several years in Vienna before moving to Phoenix in1978. He enjoys listening to very old music, birding, and hiking in the Arizona landscape. Along with poems in magazines, he has a list of chapbook publications with Places You Can’t Reach (Pudding House Publications) being the latest, and two recent books: A Normal Day Amazes Us (Kings Estate Press) and Return to Waking Life (Main Street Rag Publishing Company).