Development

F.J. Bergmann

First, we made sure the world was devoid of sentient inhabitants.

Its turquoise skies grew greener (we thought) as summer waned.

On the wine-dark sand we drew diagrams and planted pennants:

a cultural center here, a spa or hotel there, on an imaginary beach.

At least one of the suns was always rising, and the light perfect

for filming, as if the planet were a vast, floodlit stage. Shadows

radiated and swung like compass needles in a geometer’s dream.

Our shielded clothing and the protective coatings on excavators,

fabricators, and constructors faded quickly under the incessant

illumination. No one could agree on what the colors had become,

but we tried to name the new shades anyway: peripatetic, swelter,

welkin, shudder, grudge. All our off-world concepts lost relevance—

something about the fluctuating solar spectra. Estimated project

completion was indefinitely postponed.