Settling on Mars

I don’t mind the cold so much, but he does.
I can’t get him out of bed, just to walk around.
This isn’t good for your muscles, I say.

I would give him my own ration of broth
but it would never pass his clenched lips.
We have been in the bunker for many weeks.
Provisions and oxygen are almost gone,
& above, the unending thunder of bombs.

Here was a new start for all of us from Earth.
We thought wars were over, we believed
our nations would settle here in peace.

We spoke a common language,
exchanged recipes, cosmetics,
tips for ailments like headaches
we get from breathing recycled air.
Came the day our governments intervened,
& we were not allowed to fraternize.

Birth control was a part of our contract,
but sometimes, something happens—
something that is not supposed to be.
He has withdrawn from life, from us.
Our child will die with me.

All this way we’ve come,
& nothing is settled here.
— Marge Simon


Marge Simon lives in Ocala, Florida and is married to Bruce Boston. Her stories have appeared in Daily Science Fiction, The Pedestal Magazine, Morpheus Tales and many more. She won the Strange Horizons Readers Choice Award 2010, the Bram Stoker Award ® three times for Poetry, the Rhysling Award and the Grand Master Award from the SF Poetry Association, 2015.  She has work in Chiral Mad 3 and Scary Out There, You Human. Upcoming fiction: Chiral Mad 4 2017, The Beauty of Death,


Editor’s Note: Artist’s concept of astronaut working on Mars NASA wants to send humans to Mars 15 to 20 years from now. Future Mars explorers could uncover evidence that life has existed – or even might exist now – on Mars, answering one of the most basic questions humans have of the universe. A fleet of robotic spacecraft and rovers already are on and around Mars, dramatically increasing our knowledge about the Mars and paving the way for future human explorers.

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