Martian Red

Situated on the rough-ridged red
Slopes of Arsia Mons, a sprawling complex
Of climate-controlled caves and domes of ice:
The Beridze Vineyards. For frail legs
Still used to micrograv, it’s a body-
Straining hike. Breathe through your nose.

As every seasoned Martian tourist knows
(Because of all the guidebooks they have read)
Agriculture’s automated. Nobody
Leaves the habitats to tend complex
Machines. But this once stretch your legs.
Brave the dust storms and the glacial ice.

Vintner Nino Berizde won’t let ice
Keep her from her vines. She claims her nose
Is keener than a microchip. Her legs
Are bowed from years on Mars. Chapped and red,
Her hands can still handle the complex
Tasks her work claims from an aging body.

With a smile of welcome for anybody
Who comes to visit her domain of ice
She’ll show you around the whole complex
Regale you with the vintner’s lore she knows
The lighted caverns where she grows her reds
Radiation-proof, her whites climb crystal legs.

Then, tasting. Saperavi: opaque legs
With notes of spice and chocolate. Full-bodied,
Georgia’s—and now Mars’s—favorite red.
Next: Arsia Riesling. It’s an ice
Wine, made from frozen grapes. Its nose
Is fruity. Its finish is complex.

For the true connoisseur of complex
Flavors, Rkatsiteli. Pale legs,
Acacia, smoke, and ginger on the nose.
High acid, a long finish, medium body.
And more wines: whites as clear as ice
Deep indigo berry-scented reds.

Delight your nose. Flavors as complex
As the Red Planet. Though your legs
Protest, your body aches—the trip is worth the ice.

Naomi Libicki