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In Defense of Puny Pluto

November 2, 2018


 In Defense of Puny Pluto                                             


The closer to the undertow you waft                                    

the further from brightness. Life ebbs,                                 

waves grow. And the further into this

solar system of ours we probe

the more gravity seems

to tug us toward that undertow.


The planet Pluto excommunicated

from our solar system by pedants,

scientists who demoted it due to

diminutive size and great distance.

Too many other moon-like objects

hover in the vicinity, they held,

to give Pluto credence

as a legitimate planet.


Almost four trillion miles

is a ways off for a cryptic object

smaller than our own moon

to be recognized as a planet

so the scientists had

a plausible argument.


But alas that was before

pinpoint satellite data

revealed Pluto’s mysteries!


Its entire crust consists of

liquid and solid methane

locked in a freezing wasteland

at four hundred degrees below zero.


Despite unimaginable cold

liquid methane is emitted

from some undefined core

that releases heat

as it’s spit from

convulsive volcanos

and converted to slushy ice.


I suppose it could be argued

that Pluto is somewhat less

ominous than gas giant Jupiter

with its gargantuan gravity,

fairy-ringed Saturn

or ultra-hot Mercury.


Nevertheless, although we may

ultimately colonize Mars

and some day perhaps

baste in Alpha Centauri’s light,

we need not look further than Pluto

to watch a world alive by means

of its supernatural metabolism.


—Thomas Piekarski


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