By James Ph. Kotsybar

 “This rock feels squishy.”
She quickly removed her hand,
but it was too late.

Where she had touched what she thought was just stone
changed color, as it gave way to pressure,
and soon the entire boulder-size “rock”
broke loose, retreated and prepared to flee.

She drew back and instinctively soothed it
with an assuring tone and two letters:
        “O.K., O.K., O.K. …” she repeated,
as though it were a language all its own.

Each repetition, spoken more softly,
did seem to dissuade the creature’s exit,
arousing a curiosity that,
perhaps, was not the wisest thing to do.

Without its camouflage, its dimensions
were shown to be much larger than first thought,
and she heard it telepathically say:
        “Well, aren’t you just the cutest, little thing?”

James Ph. Kotsybar is first poet published to another planet. His verse orbits Mars aboard NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft, appears in Hubble Space Telescope’s Mission Log, and was awarded and featured at NASA’s Centaur’s 50th Anniversary Art Challenge. Honors include State Poetry Society of Michigan and Balticon Competitions. Invited in 2018 to read before actual Troubadours, in their founding city of Toulouse, France, at EuroScience Open Forum, he earned a standing return invitation to this trans-European biennial event. 

His poems are exuberant with his love for science. 

 Published Bangalore Review, Constellations, The Ilanot Review, California Quarterly, Gryphon, Askew, Society of Classical Poets, LUMMOX Press, Sixfold, Mason’s Road, and Scifaikuest.