The earth from space is grievously clouded
as if trying to make up its mind. Whenever
I see it on TV I think of the president cradling
the bones of the sixties, pretending not to cry,
taking the reporter’s questions deep into his body.
Or the engineers and physicists turning away from
their talents like the tactful curving of light
around a center of gravity, taking up golf
and air conditioner repair, feeding their families
roast chicken instead of hope. That time I heard
John Glenn speak his voice broke orbit, he let
the dream back into his voice. The flags on either side
of him blurred and stilled, as if trying to come true.
The Russians sent that dog up.
The corpse of that dog fell to earth in flames.
We are space junk John. We are space junk falling
through the zodiac, gathering human fates on the way.
The light we see is just a cold ancestor of the one that’s there.
You could have spent your whole life getting at that light.
One of the greatest bummers of the recession for me, besides perpetual underemployment, was the defunding of NASA.