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Falling Body by David Cavanagh

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Neil Armstrong Shoots the Moon

Cavanagh, David

Neil Armstrong on his back deck
gazes up at the blatant moon
the way you might peer at a vacation photo
of Seattle propped on a cluttered
bookcase. Says, “I’ve been there.”  Or

Neil Armstrong shakes his bristled head,
“I’ve been THERE?”  Same
as you, tossed in time, squint at all those
glossed Seattles floating
deep in inner space, far from your daily orbit.

Or even, like Neil, bathed in moondust,
feel the prick of small
skulking knowledge you’ve been there
but don’t know the place
at all beyond a booted step on a crusty shell.

Or Neil says, “You know, I was only first
because I was sitting near
the door,” and you recall a burbling phone
one tea-cozy morn,
all lunatic thereafter, a kettle whistling mad.

Or, if with a little launch of ego Neil says,
“I’VE been there,” you wonder
what kind of “I” it was saw Seattle, and if
you still know that person
you know you badly need to know.

Or, less likely but to be hoped, Neil swivels
a craggy pate
up to the orange-yellow Buddha, feels
implausible rain or tears,
no telling which, kiss his runneled cheek.

Just as you, one ragged half-corked evening,
home in on the moonface
backlit in the bathroom mirror – so like
your father’s, so much
stranger – gravely seeming to say,

“I’ve been watching
you for years. Time you noticed. Who
are you, really, what
is your intention, where have you been
to give off such a light?”


Copyright David Cavanagh 2009

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