The Ancients in Their Frozen Tombs

Pluto Pond
Pluto: On Frozen Pond” Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

The Ancients on the frozen
world that falls north and south
during long winters steam
or stew depending on the brilliance
of the summer song, that wind of angles
and the squares of varying distances.

This is their harshest winter, one
of hazes forming layers like tree rings
after charcoal, termite-infested springs.
Cold doesn’t mean frozen; very little stays
the same but remains always in slow motions:
the stroll of gravity down steeps,
floating water ice islands in nitrogen ice creeps,
the red of age and blues and pinks of
glazing processes, the shaped sharps
and other outward stabbings of inner shiftings,
slippings, slidings, spewing and rising and falling
in step to the Ancients’ dancing even
in death.

They died in vacation cottages near lakes
freezing out speed when precise pressures
no longer enticed the waves. Liquid methane blood
and silicate entrails and phasing nitrogen
processes that breathed life into them
and their sharp edges were left buried
under. World so old its first perpetual
motions ceased while the new world
submerged their bones
beneath.

First. First when the foggy solar
system hid rocks to grow to pull
gas and push aside in great
migrations the outer realms of warm
shadow ice and gas standouts.

The Ancients looked up to find their reasons
in cold blue hazy skies and the unexplored
dusty bright warming shroud. Did they?
Fly up and explore? Have enough metal

to craft spheres of their keeping cold?
Have time enough

and faith? The night is clear. The terrestrial
center sends hot metals out to
cure. The Ancients in their frozen tombs
watch the first vessel pass by;
will a second stop to watch back? The Ancients
wait for those that might land. They will
reach up again, cover their frozen tombs
in blood from a warmer race, in memory
of warmer winters.

#NaPoWriMo 2016 Day 4

Published by

Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a writer and poet. His first published poem, "Roadside Freak Show," arrives on August 21, 2017 in Impossible Archetype.  His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (richardleis.com), on Goodreads (richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr).