On Learning that NASA Has Military Connections – Chris Kaiser

He studies the night sky with an eye
Toward the blinding majesty of dark sparkles
That pop in and out of existence
Like inchoate dreams of teenaged boys
Wanting to know the unknowable.
The peace of the solitary moon calls to him,
And the ghost of Neil Armstrong hugs him,
Kisses him goodnight,
Even as he skirts danger by avoiding
The wrath of Shaula and Lesath,
The two stars of Scorpio’s stinger.
Alone, in bed, he stares at day-glo stars
Plastered to his ceiling
As the angry drunk voice of his father
Reverberates through his adolescent bones,
Forcing him to hide his inquisitive face
In the blackness of the predictable cosmos.
A bloody ghost howls
From the empty bed in the corner.
Vietnam blasted the dreams of his brother.
Now, he suffocates
In the thin atmosphere of deception.
All is not right, yet his screams are silent.
The idea of surrendering
To the collective consciousness appalls him.
Shaula and Lesath aim their stinger toward his dreams.
He steels himself against the patriarchal hegemony.
Maybe the war will be over soon.
Maybe Neil Armstrong’s footprints on the moon
Stand for more than tribalism.
Chris Kaiser’s poetry appears in Action Moves People United, a project partnered with the United Nations. The Sebastopol Center for the Arts in California awarded him for erotic writing. He is co-editor of the book When Falls the Coliseum and has won awards for his medical journalism. He has a master’s in theatre and lives outside Philadelphia.