after Edgar Allan Poe’s “Masque of the Red Death”
All the leaves crash from the trees and crinkle up in a brilliant blur. Darkness comes earlier now. The twilights and nights are a little cooler, a little longer. Decay crouches in every shadow. I scroll Twitter and pull a maple leaf to pieces. It is the most vibrant it has ever been. Red screams from the screen. Vitriol. Death threats. So much anger it cannot be held in one heart. My feed scrolls on, illimitable and exhausting. I cannot fight for dominion. The light is changing. A hawk soars over my head. I think about giving up on it all.
Five Thousand Sols Later
a golden shovel after Opportunity’s “last words,” starting with a line from Tracy K. Smith
This message going out to all of space... My battered body finally rests, low on battery
but sending this signal anyway. The last sun is setting on me. O chariot of the sun, swing low—
as now the wind blows dust into my joints and fills the gaps. Slowly breaking down. It's
I —no one will find my stardust. No way of getting
song to wake up. The world's —sleeping —dark
-- Gretchen Rockwell is a queer poet currently living in Scotland. Xe is the author of the chapbook Lexicon of Future Selves (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press) and two microchapbooks; xer work has most recently appeared in AGNI, Cotton Xenomorph, perhappened mag, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere. Gretchen enjoys writing poetry about gender, history, myth, science, space, and unusual connections – find xer on Twitter at @daft_rockwell.