The Ken Mattingly Poem

Julie Lehman

He sleeps
    As the sherbet-cool moon burns craters in his dreams
        Rising and falling with lunar snowdust
        Marinating in the light of a looming Earth.

He awakens
    to 4:00 in the afternoon stillness
    Listening for thunder from a far-off rocket
    The lid, sealing him into a
          world without sky.

He lies
     On his couch draped in Sunday shadow
     Pulseless black moon  and universe  lost
          With the pain of knowing
               a beyond
                  beyond his ahead.

   With only a distant dream of space
   and lunar eclipse irises
   set against a negative of the cosmos:
 His undeveloped pictures of wonder.