It’s a hot summer day, seventy degrees at the equator
but the carbon dioxide atmosphere, a very thin thermal
blanket, is not thick enough to prevent the plummet
to one hundred degrees below at night. Frost forms
on the rust-red rocks, sublimes at dawn, leaves puddles
of water for my wife and I to poach. We feel like lichens
in an arid arctic tundra. We would not survive the trek
to the polar caps to retrieve more water below dry ice
sheets, which disappear this time of year. Some say
the planet is emerging from an ice age, glaciers forming
just north of us. We must hurry, dust storms will soon
be here. We long to see our home—lost in Sun’s glare.
In our dome, we embrace, make love, marvel at blue
sunsets in exceeding cold, still, there’s a sense of warmth,
a hazy hint of Earth’s Rayleigh scattered sky.
John C. Mannone, the 2020 Dwarf Stars Award winner and an HWA Scholarship recipient (2017), has poems appearing in North Dakota Quarterly, Blue Fifth Review, Poetry South, Baltimore Review, Pedestal, and others. He won the Impressions of Appalachia Creative Arts Contest in poetry (2020) and the Carol Oen Memorial Fiction Prize (2020). He was awarded a Jean Ritchie Fellowship (2017) in Appalachian literature and served as the celebrity judge for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (2018). His full-length collections are Disabled Monsters (Linnet’s Wings Press, 2015), Flux Lines: The Intersection of Science, Love, and Poetry (Linnet’s Wings Press, 2022), Sacred Flute (Iris Press, 2023), and Song of the Mountains (Middle Creek Publishing, 2023). He edits poetry for Abyss & Apex and other journals. He’s an Assistant Professor of Physics and Chemistry, who also teaches Astronomy at Alice Lloyd College, as well as an invited Professor of Creative Writing [Poetry]. He lives in southeast Kentucky.