Aging With the Solar System by Marlena Chertock

I would not even be born yet
on Pluto. I’m still in my mother’s womb.
It’s the 18th century there, while on Earth
we’re sped up to a technologic 2016.

On Jupiter, I’m in my terrible twos,
snatching toys from my siblings
and throwing tantrums for every reason.

Mars, I’m just becoming a teenager,
my spine beginning its curve,
I’ll need to wear a brace next year.

On Venus, I’m almost 40.
I spend my 243 days to Earth’s 1 reading.
Maybe I have kids by then.

If I live to Mercury’s orbit,
I’m 99, almost an Earth-century,
a galactic centennial. There,
my bones would be even more brittle.


“Solar System” image by Flickr user Carolina Madruga

marlenachertockMarlena Chertock is the Poetry Editor for District Lit and a graduate of the Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House. Her poems and short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Cactus Heart, Crab Fat, Dear Robot: An Anthology of Epistolary Science Fiction, The Fem, The Little Patuxent Review, Moonsick Magazine, OMNI Reboot, and Paper Darts. Her first collection of poetry is forthcoming from Bottlecap Press, 2016. Find her at or @mchertock.