Neil Armstrong

by Carl Boon

They say the sun disappears
and the earth grows dark; they say the sea-birds
settle this hour into spaces
in the Devil’s Rocks,
the windy beach
where Pomegranate Village
meets the wider peninsula
in accidents of sand. They say
only children know those spaces, they who do
their best imagining in the dark
and know what science never knew.
But I have been away, so far away it seemed
impossible I’d come back

to love on earth and strawberries,
politics and frightened men. Count me
among the lucky who learned perspective:
no shadow save the one I made,
no elsewhere. I was given everything
and rocked and never faltered;
I was for the children
and merely seemed to rise above them.
I kicked dust, but perhaps it was
the same dust gathering in a Utah miner’s lungs.
I kicked the rock that a boy in Illinois
or Moscow kicked to clear a field.
I was you in 1969.

And I’ve been you since, small and steered
by the beauty down here:
my grandmother’s perfume,
my baby’s rattle when she tossed it
to the kitchen floor, my first lover’s letters
wrapped in string in a closet in Wapakoneta.
None of them has failed me.
None of them will ever be less
than the landscape we touched,
the unusual not-quite-light,
the notions I held of life and being
and being and death and Christmas
in 1950 when the snow never fell.

Carl Boon is the author of the full-length collection Places & Names: Poems (The Nasiona Press, 2019). His poems have appeared in many journals and magazines, including Prairie SchoonerPosit, and The Maine Review. He received his Ph.D. in Twentieth-Century American Literature from Ohio University in 2007, and currently lives in Izmir, Turkey, where he teaches courses in American culture and literature at Dokuz Eylül University.

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