Voodoo Hypothesis

by Canisia Lubrin

Canisia Lubrin’s work has appeared and is forthcoming in Contemporary Verse 2, Room, Prairie Fire, and the City Series Anthology (Toronto) edited by Jess Taylor via Frog Hollow Press.‎ Canisia shares her birthplace with her first poetry love, Derek Walcott. She loves this. So much. ‎Her first poetry collection will be Wolsak & Wynn-published in 2017. She has her MFA from Guelph-Humber and teaches Writing at Humber College.

 

Space is open before us and our eagerness to explore its meaning is not governed by the ethics of others …
—J.F.K

Before sight, we imagine
that while they go out in search
of god
we stay in and become god
become: Curiosity
whose soul is a nuclear battery
because: she’ll pulverize Martian rock
and test for organic molecules
in her lab within a lab within
a lab. She doesn’t need to know our fears
so far too grand for ontogenies, our reckoning

did you not land with your rocket behind
you, hope beyond hope on the tip of your rope
& the kindness of anti-gravity slowing you down
you, before me, metal and earthen. But I am here to
confirm or deny, the millions of small
things that seven minutes of success
were hinged upon when I was little more than
idea and research, in the hypnotic gestures of flame and Bunsen burner
and into parachute
no one foresaw, the bag of rags at the end
of the tunnel—all memory now
this paraclete

where else is a pocket of air
more deadly than the atomic bomb
sure, this would only happen on earth
has mars run out of tolerance for the minutiae

of air pockets,
fingerprints & worry?
Curiosity: she has many clues to calm our fears
for what’s coming
Mars and her epic storms, her gargantuan
volcanoes have long ceased their trembling
her crazy flooded planes, frozen and in cinema
Martian life now earth and revelation’s phases
Earth problem, not Mars problem

but why
should I unravel over all this remembering
great thing about landing
is that I’ve arrived

at your service, at your sand, at your valley
and unsentimental magma
before me screams planes like Mojave desert, Waikiki, Nagasaki
nothing too strange to keep Curiosity off course
even though the Viking Missions found no conclusive pulse
and we declared you dead, O, Mars,
never mind that we named your heights and depths
from well beyond orbit, and from your spheres of minerals where oceans
once roared—we’ve learned little of your lenience for empire
forgive us what Spirit uncovered in the silica of your ancient hot springs

ah, yes, we’ve come back home
Phoenix told us we inherited the numberless
stories of your hydraulic pathologies
but I am Curiosity. If I kill the bitch right
she’ll take us deeper and convince us to send
earthlings to set up earth colonies on your deserts. They won’t ever
come back, but that’s not so bad, when we take in
the grander scheme
as though the colonials, the tribes traders
and all the Pharoanic masquerades of gone times
were not fair threat. That we know not the depth
of our homeward seas
is nothing when

the sun’s still got our backs
and while waters still vaporize before us
Curiosity will keep on until the organic secrets
of that Martian puzzle become as household to us
as carbon
oxygen wasn’t the only disaster to befall earth
to bless her with life
Apollo drilled on the moon and got stuck
and the harder we’ve drilled down here the more we’ve loosened our screws
perhaps there’ll be no one left to give a damn about the death of our privates

unless we prove ourselves enigmas
the alien we think we know is the alien we only dream
up starting from the bottom
of the Curious
we scale up and flip through
the pages and the chapters
move quicker than we can understand. Still, after the decades we predicted
touchdown: confirmed

the hard-won postcards travel on space dust faster than a bullet
to say: hey,
I’m here. I’m safe. Wish you were here
see Gale Crater, Mount Sharp, just as you’ve said
come bask with me in the wonders of a Martian afternoon
yes, set sail for home
because we will all wear the consequences of this choice,
and you never should have said goodbye

 


Canisia Lubrin’s work has appeared and is forthcoming in Contemporary Verse 2, Room, Prairie Fire, and the City Series Anthology (Toronto) edited by Jess Taylor via Frog Hollow Press.‎ Canisia shares her birthplace with her first poetry love, Derek Walcott. She loves this. So much. ‎Her first poetry collection will be Wolsak & Wynn-published in 2017. She has her MFA from Guelph-Humber and teaches Writing at Humber College.

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