“Curiosity lands safely on the surface of Mars: 6 August 2012” by Kerry Hammerton

I knew you would look like this,
pictures of you were sent back
from spacecraft pioneers: Mariner,
Spirit, Phoenix, Odyssey,
Express, Opportunity.

Maps of you were programmed
into my programs.

I already knew how to navigate your terrain,
knew the names of your mountains
and craters: Olympus Mons, Tharis.

Your sky a flat redgrey. No clouds,
no sun, no reflection. Red soil,
dust as far as my camera can see,
craters indenting your crust,
and black red rocks.

I scar your surface with my lumbering
man made tracks.

I wait for the mystery of you
to unfurl through my awkward probing,
for you to divulge something:
maybe the beginning of life?
maybe the ancestry of man?
one secret that will introduce my world
to a larger world.

It is hard being so far from home.


Kerry Hammerton has published poetry in various South African and UK literary journals and anthologies, most recently Hallelujah for 50ft Women (Bloodaxe Books 2015). She has two collections,  These are the lies I told you, (Modjaji 2010) and The Weather Report (2014). Kerry has an MA in Creative Writing (with distinction) from the University currently known as Rhodes.

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