Last fall I remembered to watch the night sky

while walking through my desert garden.

I learned north for the first time

and I felt small and irresponsible

for not seeing sooner.

Mars spun up there for months, we passed

so close that he would follow me inside

& right into my poems. I was lost, then fierce

cleaning zinc out from under my fingernails,

shaking out the keyboard, a soft rain of silver.

The weather turned, I paid less attention

did my job, lost in lead

gravity of the calendar.

Orion set.

Sometime in spring hundreds of silver satellites

were thrown up into low orbit, astronomers said sky

would never dark the same but worldwide internet

coverage would be blazing.

When I looked again to check, Mars had spun out,


into southern horizon, somewhere distant & invisible

from the city, from the state of my birth.

It was later, in summer, in a tilt of earth

I shot across the land in a dirty comet

traveled & happened on Mars again, he had thrown

his body into the Patagonias & the whole range

blazed red when

men had already gone after him

at war with the mountains again

in the name of the same old gods

in the name of new jobs. Up around the scars

they were blasting out star shine in the chainlinked


orbited by a concertina of private security trucks

all tires & faces soaked in red planet dust

tunneling along the veins, zinc lead silver.

Down in Patagonia I stumbled dry river

walked orderly streets between

mining trucks & tiny libraries.

I complained of dim internet & drank.

I wrote poems shot through with planets

& police states, self doubts & mine shafts.

This town had been fighting over the mine

so long the bumper stickers faded

almost illegible by the time the mine

bought & sold again, opened finally

tilting the earth and shaking it out, a haze.

In the cowboy bar after midnight

with only Saturn watching

I danced lonely with the jukebox

shaking & northless

star-eyed red

illegible body beaded

with droplets of sliver

dripping puddles of zinc

guilty as lead