Museums of Earth

In the weightless centers
of ten thousand asteroids,
Earth remade in miniature.

No spin gravity, no screens,
no piped music, no data feeds,
no interactive tour guide.

Rock walls machine-smoothed
to receive murals of oceans,
blue sky layered over blue.

Models of iconic landmarks
floating midair like bubbles,
each one laboriously handmade.

The Eiffel Tower fabricated
from the asteroids’ riches
of gold, palladium, rhodium.

Tiny soldiers in frozen march
along the Great Wall of China,
minions of mythic emperors.

And simulacra of a commonplace
now almost unfathomable:
houses, streets, a playground.

That intensity of sunlight,
the atmosphere breathable,
not an airlock to be found.

Even the youngest visitors
allowed to touch the exhibits,
fingering what we’ve lost.

—Mary Soon Lee