poem25 Jul 2016 07:42 am


the old man told her bedtimes stories of when he was a child
not much older than her and the flames cupped him
on the way home
you’d miss the open air, they told him
and Glinna believed him when he said he never did
nor the blue marble, the swirling clouds, and terra firma
it was my job already, he said, and I was not afraid
of the stars, not anymore
than I was afraid of the light that showed me the way
down the darkened hallway
and back to bed
where I dreamed of the moon, possibly transferring
to Mars, and I got my wish, you see; I’m here

and out the window, she looks
Phobos and Deimos
in the face, and Glinna is no more afraid
than the old man was
who cared for her
in Asaph Hall

the other beds are empty
their one time occupants but shadows now
splashed upon the wall
and the ink smears
their names on the contract signed by their parents
gone too into the harsh environs
buried in the rust-orange clay
not unlike their ancestors in the mines of Wales
or buried at sea
consumed by fishes and dreams of California gold
it makes no difference, in the end
it was a speck in Brownian motion that she saw
at the bottom of a telescope
if only she could go there and see
where Man had begun
to struggle
and to die, but the crushing weight of it all
she couldn’t bear
no, she couldn’t bear
it was better here, with the old man
and the toys of peace, if only
she had other children
to play with

in time, in time, the old man said; but then
he’d be gone, like the others
and she’ll have grown
to take his place


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