I. Whiteness is marked, too

The colorful one-dollar-a-day expat enclaves,
their string hammocks and thinning longhairs,
their bare-foot cantinas and surf-soundtracked
all-night cheap-dope conversations

no longer appeal:
I’m an expat from expatriotism.
I always thought I’d flee before
fascism, before 1984, but

settling outside these contended borders
would make me just another settler;
anywhere else in this colonized world
I’d be just another colonist.

A benevolent colonist, of course,
one with her backpack of privilege unpacked,
spread out on the ground, strewn about—
the disarray penitent but no more attractive.

Instead, I’ll stick here till I’m stuck:
as a tour makes one a tourist,
and an escape makes one an escapist,
at least until the iris scan at the border.

II. We are the Martians

Why is it so surprising?
We have gazed back so many times,
in fear, calling them alien, warlike,
untrustworthy, like ourselves.

We have gazed back so many times,
as if to look forward, perhaps
there is life! perhaps
there is water! perhaps
that is where we will escape to
when we have thrashed this planet
we call home
yet feel so uneasy about.

We feel so lost in the woods,
so thirsty in the desert.
We clearcut and irrigate and keep trying
to recreate the garden of ease
of ancestral memory, a place

where food fell into our mouths,
where to survive didn’t require clothes,
or jobs, or clothes to wear to jobs,
or machines to do our jobs, or machines to make
the machines to do our jobs,
where little was forbidden,

But oh, yes, it was knowledge that brought
us to this point, this point of the Greatest Extinction,
of the Great Alienation, and forgetting,
calling them alien, when the Martians are us
or were, when we left our last planet
a dry, barren, hot mess.