Blue Moon

We stroll the littered sidewalk, feeling the night
Air, listening to the scuffling shoes and din
Of restless summer traffic. The moon hangs bright
And penetrating over high-rises in
The distance. Jupiter and Venus share
The sky: a stroboscopic moment from
A cosmic juggling act. And the full moon stares
At us: omniscient stranger who can numb
Inertial thought. That satellite, that sphere,
Is what--? So far away. Yes, farther than
One's fingertips can reach when you stand clear
Up on your tiptoes--farther even than
The drive to work (that far). But human feet
Have held that soil, and human eyes gazed back
At us, suspended in the heavens. And we
Have smuggled home our treasured load: sacks
Of rocks and soil. (We pass the ice cream store,
Indulge, and then go on, our diets lost.)
There--there!--upon that white white luminous orb
Are empty Tang jars, half-used food-tubes tossed
About, abandoned rover--by now the tires
Gone flat--and idle magnetometers
And seismic apparatus--long expired--
And piles and piles of empty canisters
Of film, and bootprints over bootprints in
The dusty silver soil. (We dodge a car
That jumps the curb to cut the corner thin.)
And sprinkled reckless overhead, the stars
Like salt are spilled on clean blue slate. We pause
Outside the bookstore, rummaging for sales,
Self-conscious glances, lingering because
We know tomorrow, nine-to-five prevails.
We scrape the gritty pavement with our shoes
And hear the heels hollow in the breeze.
We feel the watchful moon again and choose
A cross-street home: mosaic thoughts all weave
Towards sleep. Do you suppose the legend's true?
--They say that some Pacific tribes believe
The ocean's scattered islands formed and grew
One day where some celestial power sneezed.

© Douglas Allchin 9/26/88