by John Olson

The planet is old. I imagine life from the viewpoint of John Wayne bouncing in a jeep over rugged terrain. I tell myself: be expansive. Be a profusion. The city is a grid of habits and laws. Look at you now. Eating pretzels on Mars.

At night, we return to the ship and write letters. I have a package of transcendental postage stamps. Thoreau, Emerson, Whitman. Then I fall into an old arm chair and wonder about the strange events of the day and the minerals in our skin.

Have you ever seen cactus in the fog? It's a beautiful sight. I wish I had a pair of gloves. When I think of gloves I think of sonnets. It's good to keep your hands warm.

Why do I itch so much at night?

They're coming now. Thousands of them. Black wings, antennas, spindly legs. I get my gun ready. And think about autumn in Massachusetts. Dry, crinkly leaves. Like the wings of these creatures.

And rip the wind into chopsticks.