Today's poem is by Terri Kirby Erickson

Moon Walk
        for my brother

Sunburned, bellies full of fried pompano, sweet
corn, and garden tomatoes purchased at a roadside
stand manned by a farmer with more fingers than
teeth—my family huddled around a rented black
and white TV set the shape and size of a two-slot
toaster, watching Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin
hop like bunnies on the rough surface of the same
waxing moon that shone through our beach cottage
windows. I was eleven years old, bucktoothed and
long-legged—my brother a year younger and, most
days, followed his big sister like Mercury orbiting
the sun. Mom and Dad sat side by side on the faux
leather, sand-dusted couch, and Grandma, never one
to hold still for long, stood by her grandson's hard-
backed chair, her hair a nimbus of silver from the soft
glow of a television screen where a miracle unfolded
before our eyes. But grown men wearing fishbowls
on their heads, bouncing from one crater to the next,
seemed less real to my brother and me than Saturday
morning cartoons. And all the while, we could hear
waves slapping the surf and wind whipping across
the dunes—and the taste on every tongue was salt
and more salt. So when I picture the summer of '69
at Long Beach, North Carolina, as history rolled out
the red carpet leading to a future none of us could
foresee, my heart breaks like an egg against the rim
of what comes next. But let's pretend for the length
of this poem, that my brother's blood remains safe
inside his veins, Grandma's darkening mole as benign
as a monastery full of monks, and our parents, unable
to imagine the depth and breadth of grief. Here, there
is only goodness and mercy, the light of a million stars,
and the moon close enough now for anyone to touch.

Copyright © 2017 Terri Kirby Erickson All rights reserved
from Becoming the Blue Heron
Press 53
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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