Each of us like a little light saber
with a Force that could bind,
not just the world,
but the entire galaxy together.
We believed in Science Fiction,
in nuclear ballistic missiles, x-ray technology,
Ronald Regan’s big red button.
We loved the slender whiteness
of our toy rocket boosters.
We watched the Challenger explode
on a forty inch TV the yard-duty
rolled into our classroom.
and that long plume of smoke—
before the announcement over the PA system:
Schoolchildren of America…
the crew’s final mission…
And each kid
went home to small plastic toys
while the world went on about o-rings
and washed-up debris.
As it turns out, space
just keeps on expanding and accelerating—
made up of a dark energy that one day
will rip our gravity away.
So we took the railroad tracks to the park by the wash
and climbed to the top
of the metal rocket slide.
We can’t not look up at those stars—
even if they are just gas and dust swirling
from a freezing stellar wind.
We’re waiting for transmission
in a wave of silence,
our bodies like little signal towers,
our hoods pulled over our heads.
Author Discusses Poems