Finding Water on Mars

By October my skinny apple tree

that never bore fruit finally

looks dead enough to give

up on, the withered fist

of one dry apple balanced

in front of an orange moon.


Beneath these birdless skies

with the ground crackling

under frost, I think of my favorite hills,

fracked and draining into mud,

trucks gray and heavy in the breathy

dawn breaking up silence and years.


Yesterday a robot dragged itself

over Mars’ red hollows

and sent us messages of rivers, rain,

glaciers that carved continents


while in Florida pilot whales kill

themselves by the dozens, lungs

collapsing under their own weight

because they follow their injured

brothers onto sandbars, refusing

to let a loved one die alone.


Grant Clauser is the author of the books Necessary Myths and The Trouble with Rivers. Poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Cheat River Review, Cortland Review, The Literary Review, Painted Bride Quarterly and others. By day he writes about electronics and daydreams about fly fishing. He teaches workshops at Musehouse and runs the blog