Your Man on Xenon V

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I am awake,
eyes unravel
in hot coffee steam,
heart drifting
a thousand light years away
but mind, as always,
pecking through
facts and figures.

This outpost
is a sorry place,
but I’m a scientist
who must take pleasure
in the most arid soil,
the barest rock,
of a planet
that surely deserves
to be unknown.

Far from the breath
of a loved one,
this world kills
in a way
so no harm
seems to be done.
I’m roused
from dreams of home,
to reconvene with what
I’m being paid to do:

the travel,
the digging,
the assaying,
the reporting.

It's a vast galaxy.
It’s beautiful
where I choose it to be,
ugly everywhere else.