Memorandum STS-135, July 8, 2011
How’s a little rocket going to hurt anybody?
Henry’s daddy boomed waving the smoking engine .
The police officer shook his head, hiding his frown
behind dark glasses. Henry’s reflection shuffled its toes
in one lens and Daddy’s spit flecked on the other.
The smoky astronaut saluted, his melted parachuted fluttered.
When Annie turned ten she unwrapped a ten-inch telescope.
In the mirror; freckles, braces, and the hint
of a first pimple. That night Annie discovered her planet.
Daddy! He looked, he squinted, he fiddled. It’s a star, honey.
Annie looked again. She scoured the skies convinced, never
forgetting the gray hills and ditches, curling and twining.
Mom says, flour’s missing. He walked on the moon.
The step, that leap, for mankind and he kept trying
to get it. Arms out stiff but be bouncy, slow, hold
it but muscles shake. Don’t pounce. The moon dust didn’t fly
up like this. Hands on apron-hips. What did he do wrong?
Feathers and hammers should hit the ground together.
It blasted off the ground shaking and the giants
waking, grumbling that Jack found his way. The heroes
holding their breath over countless candles. The dragons,
flame and smoke so far away but I can feel the ash build
in me, a wish. They are sitting on gold. Daddy pats his chest,
and with a squeeze to my hand he sighs, What a shame.