Published in Overland Issue 237 Summer 2019 · Poetry Water On Mars Jarad Bruinstroop After David Wojnarowicz The highway that connects the Hudson River with your home planet is honest as a knife. Just over halfway I pull off and park in the shadow of a derelict warehouse. Meteorites glint at me as they cruise by in tight jeans and rolled sleeves but I am here only for you tonight. I sit in my car and enjoy the last minutes of unconfirmed life. Then a figure catches my eye. He is tall and has the head of a dog and the body of a man. His teeth are permanently bared and I follow him into the ruin where he disappears. The side wall of the warehouse is missing and the building gapes open to the cosmos. Towards the back rests a steam locomotive, black as a fusion crust. I get close enough to read the pressure gauge: twenty-three thirty-seven, twenty-three thirty-seven. I am aware of the presence of men around me. I think I see Rimbaud behind a column but it is only the moon. I climb the stairs to the second storey. On the landing a man is leaning, his whole body a question. The busted-out windows have let in interplanetary debris as if it were snow. I leave footprints as I search for your red-dust glow. You are painting when I find you. You are painting water. You are not painting a representation of water. You are creating water with your paint. You are painting water into existence. First a stream and then a lake. I accept your invitation to bathe. I wash my face, my hands, my feet. When I am clean we do the things with collars and hems and buttons with only our teeth. Together we make an ancient shape. When we separate you take a can of spray paint and stencil the symbol for house on my chest. Then, with a pen, you sketch flames engulfing it. From the flames we light cigarettes and I blow a chain of perfect red smoke rings — a trick I could never master back on earth. Read the rest of Overland 237 If you enjoyed this piece, buy the issue Or subscribe and receive four brilliant issues for a year Jarad Bruinstroop Jarad Bruinstroop is a writer, PhD candidate and sessional academic at QUT. His work has appeared in Meanjin, Island, Westerly, Australian Poetry Journal and elsewhere. He was the runner-up in the 2021 Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize. He is the 2022 Fryer Library Creative Writing Fellow. @jbruinstroop More by Jarad Bruinstroop › Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 3 November 20233 November 2023 · Poetry our neighbours poem Ender Başkan our neighbours face appears above the fence – hello. our neighbours have a chat with us. our neighbours learn our names. our neighbours become our friends. our neighbours landlord thinks the market is ripe. our neighbours are told to leave. our neighbours try to buy their house at an exorbitant price to keep their kids in the school zone. our neighbours are denied. First published in Overland Issue 228 25 October 202325 October 2023 · Poetry The inhabitants Elif Sezen I died today, among many others, my grandpa died too, and our neighbours, / my best friend, the one with braided hair yes, and our sweet sweet doctors, / our motherly nurses... We heard a blast, then a whoosh of some kind, / and all gone.