Stone Telling

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Moving to Enceladus

              (for Shirley)

by Mary Turzillo

My dear Shirley,
now that we are moving to Enceladus,
I regret that we never visited
the Victorian Perambulator Museum in Jefferson, Ohio,
nor the Tuba Hall of Fame in Okemos, Michigan.

I'm leaving behind my tapes of Chicken Soup for the Undead Soul,
which you may use for your convenience,
or donate
to the Society for Photosynthesizing Cats.

Remember in my absence
the extreme whiteness of that one Saturnian moon
and how an entire collection
of action figures from the musical of Titus Andronicus
can go missing if you don't watch the fissures
in our own neighbor planet's ice cap.

I will write to you
and a special automaton with catlike whiskers
will jump-kick my electrons
(embedded in Death's Head orchid petals)
all the way to your pillow.

I apologize for mentioning death, Shirley,
since you have inadvertently forgotten to remain alive,
and as the last and most whimsical of your race
have abandoned me to my petty vices and downbeat thrift.

I am not done with weeping of course.
There is only one leave-taking, and I do it every time
any moon
rises in any sky.

Mary Turzillo's Nebula-winning story, "Mars Is No Place for Children," and her novel An Old-Fashioned Martian Girl, (Analog, July - November 2004) have been selected as recreational reading on the International Space Station. Her poetry and fiction appears in Asimov's, Astropoetica, Interzone, Star*Line, Strange Horizons, Goblin Fruit, and anthologies and magazines in the US, Great Britain, Japan, Italy, Germany, and the Czech Republic. Her poetry collection, Your Cat & Other Space Aliens, was a Pushcart nominee.

Read Mary's discussion of this poem over at the Roundtable!