” … cruel and smooth and untroubled like a young woman’s skin …”

#####################################################################3PIA13173_fig2
(Source: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA13173)

THE RETIRED SPACEMAN

After his career finally flamed out,
he settled cheaply by the shores of
Ontario Lacus, on smoggy Titan, Saturn’s
moon. (It was that, or Mars, a chalet
on the endless slopes of Olympus Mons.)

The views of Saturn’s rings and ancient
storms were sublime, of course, but he spent
most time gazing out over the lake of ethane:
Ontario Lacus, cruel and smooth and untroubled
like a young woman’s skin.

It rained hydrocarbon from time to time,
any weather to relieve the tedium;
the lake was huge but shallow
and, in his metal suit, he would wade
for sullen mile on mile through
an utterly alien medium.

As for women, they preferred steamy
Venus to staring into the mirror lakes
of Titan; even the fame of the “kissing
lakes”, Abaya Lacus, could not sway ladies,
who knew the charming names were missing
stories.

So it was lonely and he collected pets,
earthly and alien, from near and far,
each in its solarium, painted by the
colours of its own home star.

And when he died, he had a Viking
burial, sent out on the lake in
a boat, his body committed to a
freezing sea, beyond the imagining
of any saga, hardly disturbing
the viscous surface, which closed behind
and above him, like a turgid liquid dirge.

by Julian O’Dea

A lake on Titan (Jingpo Lacus):

PIA10008_Jingpo_Lacus_crop

Its “specular reflection” on Titan:

PIA12481_Titan_specular_reflection

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One response to this post.

  1. […] ” … cruel and smooth and untroubled like a young woman’s skin …” […]

    Reply

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