Olympus Mons as imaged by the Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera
Even in her youth
The volcano that became Olympus Mons,
Though she called herself Tharsis Lil,
Was never slender or slight.

She was strong and sturdy and fiery,
Erupting with unbridled passion
At every provocation,
Whether the impact
In the Hellas Basin,
Poundings by stray asteroids,
Shudders from rumbling marsquakes,
Or the whim of the moment.

Eventually her solidity slowed her down.
She mellowed in her chilly surroundings
Observing passing dust storms and other annoyances
With quiet equanimity.

She waited and watched
The mechanical visitors with limited interest.
When the first living creatures landed,
She summoned the will
For a heartfelt "Howdy, Stranger!"
Of welcoming, bubbling, scalding lava,
Fresh from the Arean core of her mature heart.

Copyright © 2007, Mary Jo Rabe

Image Credit: Malin Space Science Systems/NASA

Mary Jo Rabe grew up on a farm between Miles and Sabula, Iowa. She has a B.A. in German and Math from Michigan State University, an M.A. in Library Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and has been working as a librarian in Freiburg, Germany, for the past 30+ years. Mary Jo first became a science fiction fan in graduate school in Milwaukee and is a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. She is working on a collection of Mars poems. Mary Jo and her husband live in a small town in the Black Forest.