Fly Me ~ Katharine Coles



Which is the epic moment?  Billowing-off or craft’s fly-fall to
surface, huffing flames and dust, all those one

-eyed creatures in enormous skins fumbling down the ladder.
Still carried away a half-century later, they bounce and drift in
gorgeous clutziness, weight and its

-lessness in tense negotiation, stars backdropped against the dark,
oddly endearing.  Who would know: inside the suits they are
slimmish, pink, almost hairless by mammalian standards, too
damned smooth.  Do they realize how far out there is until they
think about getting back?

So, space, what a joke, cold place
harbouring monsters, fire, a catch in the throat.  Empty
– not empty, whatever they believe,

they do the job: keep sprightly while the
camera runs, slightly comic in their dignity, boys cavorting
(The miracle: not only that they’re up there, but through space
and time I can see them at it)

across the surface, trying to keep grounded.  Now, they dance to
my command – hit play –  grainy, black and white

(man, it looks like the moon or something),

their extreme high tech old-fashioned now, back

–sliding into the past.



I admit it: I too wanted to put my foot down, who
didn’t?  To play the game called Look at me, something to tell the
children I would never have, just as well

Given my mess of space.  Blue eye looking askance.  From here, I
see a grey face not looking back.  If that lump of rock had a man
in it, he might wonder about us, might stop blowing his horns
until I left off gazing to consider

the world through his eyes, something closer to home.  Please sir,
can you say cheese?

Meanwhile, why do I love only from too far
away to reach?  Why go anywhere at all, and also why not?

Meanwhile, since I’m asking, who’s driving this
spaceship, tell me who’s reading the maps?  Not I, joy

-riding through the void, fancy free, thought

-less, entirely without feck, concerned only with my street

-level destination, burning toward it, skidding right at the corner,
left at the second signal, speeding up.  Orb in mind, what’s the
point asking where or why, how or even whether we might ever
come to ground.  Mean

-while, Happy birthday Lander, you who put down. Happy
birthday, Moon, put upon.  For us, oh Earth, idea, touchstone,
vehicle on which time sorts us: help us, won’t you, hold together




Published today in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, July 20 1969