Messenger of the Gods

MuIUDU.IDIM.GU.UD!
Chasing the sun through night,
leaving the day behind,
Shikhtu dances in twilight
for ancient illuminate eyes.
Uncovered in the Dresden Codex,
spilling dust to Mayan minds,
the mysterious messenger
of the gods
portends the city of ancient Rome
and races around the sun
faster than any wanderer
stripping its dual selves,
Apollo and Hermes,
away from its iron core.
It’s just a flash,
a flicker for questing eyes,
one of the classical planets
meticulously studied by Kepler
who predicted its transit
across the magnificent sun.
And on that fateful day,
the 7th of November 1631,
after Kepler’s death,
after millennia of absconding
with diurnal dreams,
the black dot was spotted
speeding across our home star,
its surreptitious journey
a secret no more.

Precision of predictions,
perfect Newtonian skies,
the clockwork of the universe
ticked ever forward
but Mercury’s orbit
remained aberrant
and the vision of Vulcan,
the hypothetical planet
providing the missing gravitational tug
evaded every lens in sight.
Enter Einstein,
cosmological genius
refining Newton’s theories
to deepening precision
that perfectly predicted
the placement of Mercury
in its stable orbit
around our sun.
Confirmation of science!
Affirmer of eccentric elliptical tides!
Realization of the great measurer,
the Egyptian deity Thoth!

Speculation slips down craters
and melts under the blazing sun.
The god of knowledge burns
temperatures of 800 degrees Fahrenheit
jammed with negative 250 below,
a confluence of wild temperatures
split by magnetic poles
and slow-motion rotations
that occur thrice
every two Mercurial years.
Mariner 10 photographs
battered hollowed rocky terrain.
MESSENGER slingshots by
several gravitational fields
before deducing craters
in permanent shadow
stocked with ice.
Yes, Mercury
is polarized
by ice.

It’s a gray world
with a super dense
iron core,
its surface stricken
by solar winds
in magnetospheres
whose particles trail away
to the perpetuity of night.
First exhalation of the sun,
full view of the universe
in one grand night,
barely bigger than the moon,
home to the Caloris Basin
in the “Weird Terrain,”
no atmosphere, an exosphere,
and no discernible tilt
enlivening the august poles
with the mysterious matter
of no direct sunlight
in Nabu knows what.

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