Conk-out on the Launch Pad




Tomorrow is when we leap to Mars;

It’s today that’s on my mind.

First things first: the Moon;

Gives me the shivers

And calls to me.


When I was a kid it faced me,

And when I asked it

What do you want,

Animal ribbons of

Translucent smoke

Reached out to me from

Its bumpy edges

In the midst of the sound it made:

A kind of threatening moan

Devoid of sound

(But having the taste of my name).


So I knew I had to go,

Always have,

And that I would have to leave behind

Fantasies of other deserted places

In the sky:

Mighty Mars, milky Venus

Noisy Jupiter,

Evil Saturn, the dead star.

Take that, dead star!


And now I’m flat on my back

In a space capsule

On top of a towering

Giant bomb,

Waiting for delay number

Umpteen to be overcome—

Something’s always breaking down out

On a spaceship, always—


The countdown has long stopped.


There is a message from Huston,

Then a knock on the hatch,

Then white arms reaching in,

Birthing us prematurely:

They couldn’t fix the problem.

Perhaps, they say, we’ll go to the Moon

Tomorrow.


It’s alright for them.



Copyright ©  Peter Twohig. All rights reserved.