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.