Marlena Chertock

The martian comes to me
while I’m waiting for the Metro.
It’s late again, and she says
she wishes she could use her spaceship
in the city — no-fly zones or something.
The martian is on a mission
to learn about all forms of transportation.
She’s always on the go. She loved
the subways in Paris. Underground,
a familiar sense of being lost. In Chile,
she took a 12-hour bus ride,
tried to sleep in the non-reclining seat.
German submarines do wacky things
to the martian’s ear canals.
When she gets back on land it takes weeks
for her hearing to rise back like bubbles.
American airplanes are where the martian
feels most at home. She doesn’t love
having someone else pilot,
but at least the turbulence
of flight is back in her body.

Marlena Chertock‘s first collection of poetry, On that one-way trip to Mars, is available from Bottlecap Press. She is the Poetry Editor for District Lit. Her poems and short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The Deaf Poets Society, The Fem, The Little Patuxent Review, Moonsick Magazine, Paper Darts, and Wordgathering. Find her at or @mchertock.