There was a moment, in those dark days

when we dreamed of putting our stars there

together – one gold, fifty white.

On the Red planet, on the god of war

so we wouldn’t have to meet him on the battlefield.

We schoolboys ducking under our desks

the quaking of Southern California ground

not as scary as the heat of potential megatons

blossoming across the harbor like one of grandma’s

perennial roses, flush and fat and crimson.

If you lived under the sun, the spring sun, the summer sun

and your hair was bleached by it, and your skin bronzed by it

the idea of snow was so foreign, so alien, that winter was

something cool but never cold.

But if the bombs dropped then the heat would be a memory

too soon. The cold of perpetual winter would be fearsome.

Take us then to Mars on rocket ships converted from ICBMs

and let comrade Ivan waltz with colonel Aldrin across

the carbon dioxide frosts and chasms, that dream we had

before the crumbling of the Wall and the hammer and sickle’s fall.