The Best Western on 107 Piscium E

Shuttles freight humans
          to this world, mostly tourists,
here to snap pictures
          on beaches made of crystal
          and ride the tame dinosaurs.

A family of four
          leaves the spaceport in a cab,
sharing their ride with
          a seasoned business traveler,
          who doesn’t look out windows.

Chittering curses,
          the insectoid driver swerves
through lanes poised mid-air,
          and leaves them at their hotel,
          which boasts both pools and restaurants.

Faceless hotel rooms
          overlook alien roads;
the family’s too pleased
          to find fault with a view of
          traffic and neon billboards.

Downstairs at dinner,
          they want to sample local
fare; aquatic slugs,
          served medium-rare in honey,
          with a side of crispy worms.

The business traveler
          a table over, orders
a vat-grown burger,
          which he could have had on Earth,
          eats only what’s known, mundane.

The family hastens
          out of the hotel to walk
streets lit by three moons;
          the businessman stays behind—
          all his wonder’s been road-killed.

—Deborah L. Davitt