But on these worlds, the clouds are vaporized rock and it rains sand.
–John Whatmough, Extrasolar Visions

Artist's concept of a "Hot Jupiter"I. Aphelion: Dark, Hot Jupiter

The ices, they are burning.
Green-black flames flutter
above spectral sands.

Are these tombstones
blowing from the stone-soaked lands?

This is
blood – or is it nectar
precipitating from incandescent hands?

A star rushing to shed
its coat of flame expands

a booming drum of tidal shadows,
hurling a ghost-red sea
onto the black sodium strand.

II. Perihelion: Cloudy, Hot Jupiter

Beads of spun glass shower down
from a shrouded serpent’s stare
while obsidian ores eddy and ripple
under torrents of a crystal squall.

And as scalded windows frost against
a cooling leaded breath
and boiled snowflakes cast white prisms
upon the brackish, saline depths,

sulfur sands surge upwards
in white phantom waves to sink
down through the benthic gloom
of a vicious hydrogen sea.

Copyright © 2008, David Jalajel

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC)

David Jalajel is originally from Baltimore, Maryland and a graduate of Morgan State University. His poetry has recenty appeared in Amaze: the Cinquain Journal, Forgotten Ground Regained and The Ghazal Page.