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CONTENT WARNING:



i.

A joke in our school, passed
on to us by
early settlers: no
classroom offered a higher education
.
When I grow up,
              I want to become a historian. Earthlings, in their grand
institutions, have always painted the history
of my planet with their blue sky. Mine shall be informed
by a dust
 devil red.

ii.

My family was ridiculed for having left the comfort
of the Archipelago, its alluvial soil
and windows overlooking trajectories of shuttles.

In me flows the blood of sherpas.
In me, the tip
of Everest posits longing.

I who always knew
home is only Olympus Mons.
We who are now part
of a kibbutz, hardened by our passions
for a magnificence beyond
              any technology’s horns.

iii.

A true Monsian never moans.

iv.

Because I learned I’m being transferred
to a periphery
of human civilization

I feared what will become of me
I feared coping with loneliness
if I’d be allowed to take my ferrets along—
I quit that job. I’m still here, a Monsian
with a transparent wigwam of ferrets and a cat
named Midori San.

v.

                                                                                                  I was born in Calcutta.
                                                                                                  I was
raised by a single mom, who
worked as a nanny in
the Gagarin Space Station orbiting

              Phobos.
Her colleagues spoke no Bengali. Her bestie,
Serenov, assumed she was made of circuits too. He’d offer
his OS when she became sick- polonium roses, otherwise.

I was twelve when all her savings became
my route to Mars: Olympus Mons. Still open to immigrants,
said the ad.
The happiest day of my life was seeing
her disembark. I forgot the butterflies on my helmet’s
visor were only stars.



Arjun Rajendran's publications include Star*Line, Berfrois, VAYAVYA, Mithila Review, The Bombay Literary Magazine, The Sunflower Collective, Eclectica, and Asian Cha. His 2nd collection of poems, The Cosmonaut in Hergé's Rocket, will be published by Paperwall Media and Publications in March 2017.
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