Below the Ice

We as a people were warned
about falling, about losing
ourselves to the gaps, while
the master classes hunched,
huddled, held us, and dared to drop

us into horrible abyss. A haunted
fear heated high enough hid
a daring dream: to fall. To fall fast
enough that the bursting happened
after new wonders were witnessed,
after our skin hardened, after
those who fall leave behind
those who fall further, stronger,
hand over hand over hand out
of bodies soft without use or
wondering what it was

beyond a metaphor used to keep
us where we were most wanted
just what we were falling into.

For counting, more than enough
hands. For remembering, more
brains and passing along the count
to our children and theirs.

And so the holding held, the
hands kept counting, the hands
evolved, and the uprising
arrived with demons from below,
the fallen returned, climbing
to say hello while ignoring
clutching classes that
tried to tear us in their holding
hell, then threw us, go then,
may we never see you ever
again, monsters, and how do we
do for ourselves?

With enough time, everyone
remembered falling and everyone
remembered having fallen and
then falling was just another
direction to stand upright
again and free,

hand on the ice, looking up at rock
and deciding the space between
was good enough for solvent industry,

falling just another venture,
and with the heat of our
old source holds, the liquid
transport, and the ever ice and its
breaches to even more ground,
we stood our ground and gained
ground and the Empire between
found better use for class
than masters and slaves.

These kinds of changes take time,
but it seemed like no time at all
before the ground heat rock and
the ground ice were laced
with our cutting-edge
column striving, poisoning our
composite people, making industry
its own slave master. So we dug,
we enslaving hands and heads,
specialized swimmers, and machine-braced
former miners and masters now body, into the ice,
looking for deeper holes and the secret
to not killing everything above. In deeper holes
already weak and in the guise of branching
discontinuities we found the geysers, into which
falling was dangerous again, and with them
erupted new myth-
building and rebellions, and

the drilling and mapping of a mirrors and windows
firma, its own currents cracks
and labyrinths begetting in violence
new composite people
losing their fears while finding
freedom in dangerous spaces
that seemed to get brighter and more distorting
until we evacuated the final truth.

At the same time we peaked up
to distances unimagined by our fictions
or falling, under the whirlpool
of gas ball we had no name for, amidst
a frigid cold we would need to adapt soon for,

an alien people had sent their stark metal means
to find their own way in, down, into all of our down,
our rock and ice and the ocean between.

Braced in that complex zone of phase transitions
we hands-brains-body symbiotes in harmonious
excitement took turns imagining
appropriate ways to say hello,
in all that endless empty space,
to other explorers.

#NaPoWriMo 2016 Day 29

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).