ON BEING ALONE NEARBY 

Baby says he wants to go to Mars.  I don’t

know how much he means it.  But his eyes

are Jupiter to a T, I thought the first time & ever

since I saw him, down to the bronze fleck & swirl.

I scratch Baby’s scalp, keep three fingernails

long to touch him better.  On Mars his long hair

would weigh next to nothing, glint golder more than ever

next to sun.  On Mars Baby would be a colonizer

of the dead.  Not that word, he says.  The unborn

the unlived.  Baby picks up a house ant

on his long wood-loving finger, walks out

the door, returns it to humid grass, returns

to me, who he thinks didn’t see.  I think I see Baby

air zip-up an invisible space suit from

his long toes to his ember hairs, see his eyes

unzip & salted spheres run from them

for an instant I don’t know how to touch.  On Mars

seeds will grow under glass skies.  They will speak

breathy & warm, full of veins, little mouths

the way plants always have

given birth to the breathfull rainfall patterns

that stitch them more thickly to earth.

On Mars their leaves’ spectral hunger will lean

ever more autumnal to bluish.  They will smile wide

red in Mar’s undead Eden, in Baby’s Adam-hands

how my evening heart plunges against ribs

these ones, my only ones, how they’re bound

to someday seed dirt, cry out

for ghost & rain & thunderclap visitations

for some long gone maker

some baby spitting wet on Mars.


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Brooke Larson holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University, and is currently a PhD student in Poetry at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.  Her poems and essays have recently appeared in The Offbeat, Gravel, The Swamp, Foothill Journal and Split Rock Review, and she was the 2017 runner-up for the Tennessee Williams Poetry Prize.  She often runs away to teach primitive survival skills as a wilderness guide in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert.