What do you do at the end of a long day of exploring a new planet like Cyan? Watch TV? Read a book? Maybe a western shoot-em-up, since science fiction wouldn’t be much of a change of pace.
If Uke Tomiki were one of your colleagues, you might write poetry.
It was late. Beyond the meadow, the jungle was predominantly blue-green with spots of color where flowers of innumerable variety grew, and where tiny, flower-winged amphibians fluttered. Globewombs glittered in the tree tops like a scattering of jewels in the dying light. Procyon was setting as they watched, and night flying amphibians were coming out to catch the chitropods. A small herd of dropels grazed just beyond the fence.
Wombs of glass wherein
“Nice,” Keir said. “Did you just compose it?”
“Oh, no. I’ve been working on it for days, but it won’t come right. What do you think?”
“Maybe a bit too clever at the end.”
“Something like that.”
Keir smiled. “You’ve heard my poetry. You know I’m not the one to ask. What would Uke tell you?”
Tasmeen made a face. “Less is more.”
“So I humbly submit – bearing in mind the humility that Uke’s poetry has forced upon me . . .” Tasmeen hit him in the arm, and he grinned, “that you take an axe to it.”
She sighed and said, “I knew you were going to say that.” She repeated the poem, now abbreviated:
Wombs of glass.
Keir spread his hands. “That’s it.”
“It will require a more knowledgeable audience than the first version.”
“Hey,” Ramananda demanded, “ain’t we sophisticated enough for you?”
Sometimes Keir thought that Tasmeen and Uke’s poetry caught more of Cyan than their scientific findings. After sex and discussing their research – probably in the other order – making poetry had become their primary form of recreation.
Tasmeen recited several of her newer poems, then teased Keir, “Do you have any new bordello rhymes for us?”
Keir knew that Tasmeen would only badger him until he relented, so he recited his latest.
Call me Gomorrah, she said.
Nothing more —
Unless you count her straining
breasts as speech.
Call me Gomorrah —
It told me all I had to know.
Ramananda shook his head in mock distaste. “Always the dirty mind.”
“I like it!” Tasmeen protested, then took Keir’s hand and said, “You can call me Gomorrah any time you want to.