Neptune’s Settlers Revert to Olde Worlde Ways

  1. We’re having lunch at the Commons
  2. with the Critics when the message—
  3. if you can call it that—arrives,
  4. nine thousand days after
  5. the settlers rocketed off for that
  6. farthest ball in the sky. Our president
  7. looks distinctly ill as she studies
  8. the drawing of three children,
  9. all unhelmeted, one with actual
  10. Hillbetty hair sprouting on
  11. her head. Message received.
  12. They might as well have sent us
  13. a Macramé manifesto. “Space madness
  14. take four” we declare, unhappily
  15. hitting our helmets with our hands,
  16. tapping out Mars, Saturn, Pluto.
  17. You can bet they’re not pollinating
  18. the Ultra-Tree saplings we sent them
  19. off with, sheathed in silver mesh.
  20. Our Sponsored Sky zippers open.
  21. Most of the Advertisement Slinkies
  22. make it to the stairs and start
  23. shimmying down, but a few
  24. bounce-glint in the plastic trees like
  25. an ancient wingèd thing from a song.