The Martian’s Regress by J.O. Morgan (Cape Poetry)

Tears in the Fence

It’s the future. Earth, environmentally ruined and abandoned, has become the dead planet, and a martian – with the ‘m’ of species rather than the ‘M’ of locality – is sent back there by his unspecified supervisors to collect samples and seek for new life.

Life on Mars itself isn’t great, as we learn bit by bit: the radiation, the pollen-storms, the food that’s basically mould, the terrible sex. And the culture is brutal: even martian fairytales and lullabies are grim and sadistic, and the planet’s Adam and Eve are vengeful, genocidal children.

The martian, who’s small, fat and black, and his accompanying robot, who is tall, white and shaped with ‘overt femininities// all relics of an ancient era’, land and find a place to inhabit. They raid the shops and he goes out daily looking unsuccessfully for life. He casually destroys museum and cathedral artefacts, starts to think telephones…

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