The Last Word — “To Mars” by Mike Bayles

Photo courtesy of Bachtlar Rahady, Flickr creative commons:
Photo courtesy of Bachtlar Rahady, Flickr creative commons:



Our February “The Last Word” was To Mars by Mike Bayles:



by Mike Bayles

Girl dances in front of the counter in a coffee shop. Late December haze

hangs over the downtown like a dream. Soft music plays while fresh brew stirs.
She smiles at me and says her boots are for walking on Mars. She faces
a window and studies math on her laptop. Someone in passing
talks about the god particle and walks out the door.Potter checking emails in library says he knows four people in the obituaries.
He says the potter’s wheel in his studio was broken, but now it’s fixed.
Sometimes he rides his bicycle to his studio at the end of the street.
He works near a rescue mission where preachers talk salvation,
but no one is saved.A nearby bridge rattles under the weight of traffic late afternoon
silhouetted against gray skies. It is passage we know.
A train rumbles in the rail yard as the dreary town lives its lives.
Water passes under the dam, to destiny it flows,
while conversations stir near the end of the year.

Mike Bayles, a lifelong Midwest resident, is the author of Threshold and The Rabbit House, both books of poetry. His poetry and fiction are widely published in places such as Lyrical Iowa, The Rockford Review and Out Loud Anthology.

The Last Word is open to submissions (MWC members get first priority). To submit, please send one poem (no longer than 30 lines; other formatting considerations, such as line length, should also be taken into account) or one work of short prose (fiction/non-fiction, 500 words max) in a MS Word file (.doc, .docx, .rtf) to, and include the phrase “The Last Word Submission” in the subject line. Please also include a brief bio (50 words max). Selections will be made each month by MWC staff and guest editors.