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DINOSAUR FROM MARS

A shower of stars startled the old man
From sleep, and when the crazy meteor
Fell and struck his vegetable garden

He put on some clothes, hobbled
Out on aching legs, and found a rock
Smouldering in the damp loam.

He bent down and reached out his hand
To inspect the thing. It splintered
And flaked in fragments, warm

And pulsating faintly. This was not
The earth he knew, which crumbled
In his calloused hands and fed

His wife and daughter. It had
A reassuring weight, flecked with metal
Scorched from lightning strikes

On a plain so distant its ruddy sparkle
Was lost to his failing sight.
Here was a piece of the universe

He could manage as his own. Fields
Once tilled with pride lay fallow,
Bushels collapsed to a few ears of corn

Grown behind his wind-blown barn.
He shrugged, dug a small hole,
And planted the rock in his garden.

      — Gerald McCobb