Across the orange inland empire,
up the rim of the world
we attempt to get closer to Mars.
Our neighbor has traveled 60,000 years
to get nearer us so we spend two hours
or more to meet her halfway.
A romantic earthling, I am infatuated
with Martians of Burroughs and Bradbury lore.
Scientists are convinced no life as we know it
exists on the barren planet,
at least our telescopes don’t show it.
We don’t know what lush life may be
in another dimension above or below that lined red face
what I might hope to see through a 4D telescope?
The way I once saw the face of Captain Nemo
through 3D glasses at Disneyland.
I stand mountain high far from city lights
and look to the sky but the stars are all hidden in fog.
I climb from one enchanted peak to another
but the heavens have hidden Mars.
Even the big dipper has vanished behind clouds.
We drive back to the city lights
I stand on my balcony and look South,
feel like Dorothy returned from the Emerald city.
High above the stacks of the steam plant
Mars winks at me.