No-one warned me just how much
Mars hates visitors from Earth.
As they built me, slowly slotting my pieces
Together, none of my Creators dared to sneak
Away from their Supervisors’ side to hide behind me
And whisper in my ear:
“You didn’t hear this from me,
But it will try to kill you in a dozen different ways
Each day. Before you even land
It will do its best to end you – maybe by tangling
Your parachutes, or fooling your computer
Into thinking you’re on the ground
When you’ve still a hundred feet left to fall.
And if you manage to survive the insane Skycrane’s
Final bounce, don’t just drive blindly down
Paths that seem safe at first glance.
Spirit took that chance and died before her time…”
No, no one gave me that advice,
Yet I’ve survived the worst this world could throw at me.
But look at my poor wheels!
Their metal is punctured and peeled back as if
Martian dust sharks attack me as I drive,
Hiding beneath the duricrust, their Crysknife-sharp teeth
Biting me, gnawing on me, feasting on my treads
As I roll on, meandering through the foothills of Aeolis Mons,
Every rock and stone punching another hole
In the soles of my feet…
© Stuart Atkinson 2018