Apr/May 2013 Poetry Special Feature

Transmission from an Astronaut Dying on Mars

by Bob Bradshaw

Artwork by Clinton McKay

Artwork by Clinton McKay

Transmission from an Astronaut Dying on Mars


The thing I will miss most,
other than the company of a woman,
is the hint of rain gathering in the air.

Sure, I have stars, bracelets
glittering in an open vault,

as you do,
but no woman curls up against my chest,
and no rain trawls my roof.

Why should I succumb to despair?
A private room in Florida—
or a bunk on a red planet—
does it matter?

Wherever we live
the heart plays itself out,
every life

like a satellite in the path of a sun's
magnetic storm...
forces out of our control dooming us.

Tonight, when you sense a subtle change
in the darkness around you,
a neighbor's porch light having gone out, perhaps,

remember me, and how our lives
have crossed,

my body's systems already
in the early stages of shutting down,

like lights faltering
on a neighborhood's
failing electrical


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