--at the Mars Desert Research Station, Crew 141, southern Utah
A collared lizard pumps
on a rail by the Hab.
"Cap comm to EVA 1, do you copy?"
Sim as in
simulation, as in
simulacra, the palimpsest
of reference and gap :
unconformity. A few yards away
someone's built a low stone wall,
mock ruin of the extirpated
behind which striped dunes rise, gone
those Paleozoic shallows, boiling dehy dinner
inside, water trucked from Hanksville.
Levels drop. The bats fly at dusk.
They ping the air with their transmissions.
The suits we don, the rover we test,
the EVA to measure a rescue.
and the GreenHab door
there's an imaginary
tunnel, a metal grate, safe
arbor with neither vines nor fabric,
so the body struggles
to pretend there isn't familiar sun, kind wind of
warming May. Body knows
we better take along. Body
has what those dunes know.
Body slides the cursor, copy and paste.
Things scuttle in, and our plants
in soil that we've made--Simulated
Martian Regolith--plastic cups
of cattails whose shots
could lash new portage
across the deepest canyon,
our gutted ark become a whip-tail there.
--Christopher Cokinos, Crew Journalist