National Poetry Month Day 22: “The Limit” by Adam McGovern


The Limit

“I don’t see them,” I said
when my mom told me men were landing on the moon
but I wasn’t surprised they were, and why would I be,
I was expecting them
at that age, in that era when you had no idea what doesn’t happen
Looking up at the moon, where we might as well have been,
driving at night through gray desert under a banner of stars
My dad had the radio on but he couldn’t see them either,
so he veered into one isolated motel
long, A-framed, like some arrow sticking out of the ground,
and rapped on the door to let us watch on the lobby TV
The old man at the desk drifted over —
they hadn’t been watching it either —
and we stared, standing, at the waves of static
that we couldn’t make a thing out in
and why should we,
since I was sure this was bouncing not from some news studio
but directly from the moon
which had a long way to go
We spent a lot of time like that, between worlds,
visiting relatives on the bright side of the continent
from the gray, concrete east
moving almost twenty times.
When that one trip was over
we went to live on the moon
playing with astronaut toys
and our moms making powdered miracle drinks
The first Star Trek shut off around then
and we got tired of our toys in less than ten years
our four-wheel steel capsule rusted,
the far coast now as good as next door,
and I talk into a magic speaker everywhere I go
and gaze into a viewscreen all day, clear as sky
bouncing off the ball of satellites
just short of where the men set down.

–Adam McGovern

Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →