Your Man on Xenon V

John Grey

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in New World Writing, California Quarterly and Lost Pilots. Latest books “Between Two Fires”, “Covert” and “Memory Outside The Head” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Isotrope Literary Journal, Seventh Quarry, La Presa and Doubly Mad.

I am awake,
eyes unravel
in hot coffee steam,
heart drifting
a thousand light years away
but mind, as always,
pecking through
facts and figures.

This outpost
is a sorry place,
but I’m a scientist
who must take pleasure
in the most arid soil,
the barest rock,
of a planet
that surely deserves
to be unknown.

Far from the breath
of a loved one,
this world kills
in a way
so no harm
seems to be done.
I’m roused
from dreams of home,
to reconvene with what
I’m being paid to do:
the travel,
the digging,
the assaying,
the reporting.

It’s a vast galaxy.
It’s beautiful
where I choose it to be,
ugly everywhere else.