Psychopomp Magazine Fall 2016 - Page 26

26 | Psychopomp Magazine

that planet. The astronaut looked up at the circle in the sky.

He took to jumping. Arms outstretched he jumped into craters, propelling himself away from the faint clutches of gravity, but all the same the weights in his boots pulled him back to the ground. The tallest ledge he could find still did not give him the launch he needed, a straight shot at escape velocity and he could ride on gravity and cosmic currents, but something kept him locked to this stupid molten rock. By the Apollo site, his camp, he sat down by the flagpole and looked at the wheel. Turned it to the left, turned it to the right. Vroom vroom. He looked up at the flag, stiff unwavering proclamation of the American dream and that misguided manifest destiny that brought them all out here and destroyed them all down there and here he was now and he just wanted to go home. He hadn’t asked for this. None of them had.

Diesel

Among weightless dust and jagged lunar rocks he dreamt of a Sunday drive along the beach in a sporty convertible he’d borrowed from his father-in-law while she sat with a picnic basket at her feet. Lazy New England sand dunes and beach grass. Salty air. He hit the gas and she laughed.

Lying on his back under the flag with the reflected stars circling across his visor he lifted the steering wheel. Hands at ten o’clock and two o’clock. He forced himself to remember the car, her hand on his knee, how she clutched and dug in with her nails when he gunned the motor around S-curves and her small shriek of surprise. The car had been red, the seats black leather. The keys jangled in the ignition. He reached for them, turned the ignition over; engine roar a jaguar in the desert, a purring that vibrated through his