By Robert Wood Lynn

Featured Art: Insomnia by Madelyn Bartolone

There would be more mornings, more
dark pink of sun through closed eyelids.
More people rolling over to check
that the other was still there. The day they left
the rover alone on Mars, most didn’t read
the news and most of those who did
didn’t read about the rover—a wandering
machine supposed to last for only ninety days.
But ninety days passed and still there were more
mornings. People continued to wake up
startled, to churn their ways through the covers
to find someone. Some never did, in beds too big
or apartments too small. There were more
mornings for the rover too—thousands more—
until everyone who wasn’t a computer
lost count, until the rover made mornings
the wrong metric altogether. Back then,

those thousand days ago, you’d wake up
grasping for me in a panic that felt new
each time. Morning always the same dark pink
that Mars looks in that selfie the rover took
just before it stopped responding.
I’m sorry, I love you always
the first things you’d say aloud
until I stopped hearing the comma.
Not something you needed me to know
so much as a ping sent to a wandering
machine worlds away, still listening
for who knows how long.

Robert Wood Lynn‘s debut collection Mothman Apologia was selected by Rae Armantrout as the winner of the 2021 Yale Series of Younger Poets prize. His work has been featured in The Cincinnati Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Southern Review, The Yale Review, and other journals. He lives in Rockbridge County, Virginia.

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