Weekly Write: “Treehouse on Mars” by Karen Poppy

Treehouse on Mars

When we’re born, and old enough,
We’ll build a treehouse
On Mars, just
Like one we heard
Our parents’ parents built
To play in as children on Earth.

Our Martian colony
Will have no trees.
Only small plants
For consumption.
No birds singing in branches.
No sun shining through leaves.

We’ll build our treehouse,
Not in a tree, but on
An artificial resin trunk.
Ancient song of birds
Will filter in from speakers.
Pink glow will light our days.

When we’re born, and old enough,
We will learn of trees.
How they lived and
Burned with finality in
Forests and jungles
Of memory and loss.

New trees never could
Meaningfully replace
Old-growth in locations
Strange on our tongues:
Africa, Brazil, Colorado,
Tongass, Siberia, Indonesia.

When we’re born, and old enough,
We’ll live on a planet
Far from scent of real resin, pine.
Far from sound of wind through woods.
Far from shade of towering canopies.
Far from trees’ majestic heights.

Never will we have memory
Of vast Amazonian wonders,
Jungle animals, forest animals.
Just pictures, holograms, stored DNA.
Koala, Orangutan,Giraffe,
Lion, Antelope, Gazelle.

When we’re born, and old enough,
We’ll live here, born here
Like our parents.
Tell stories in secret
Of how we want to
Rebuild Earth.

Although we’ll know, like
Our treehouse, our dream
Is not real, and never can be.
The trees and animals, gone.
No matter what we’ve kept,
What we’ve stored.

At this point, even our own
Existence is hypothetical,
Since life on Mars cannot
Likely occur, be sustained.
Right now, humans have to start
By trying to save Earth.

As we say what we fear,
Our voices stay stuck, unheard
In a distant, probably
Impossible future,
Like roots dead or never born:
It is too late. Too much is lost.


Karen Poppy has work published in Blue Unicorn, The Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide, ArLiJo, Wallace Stevens Journal, and The Cortland Review (Best of the Net nomination). She has a chapbook forthcoming with Finishing Line Press, and another chapbook forthcoming with Homestead Lighthouse Press. An attorney licensed in California and Texas, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.


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