When Are the Astronauts Going to Mars?

by Lorena Parker Matejowsky

I want to say soon. I want to say how
important this is to your mom now.
And not five months ago. I want to tell you
hey I know you are only nine but I will let
you get a social media account if you
promise to follow @Orion and @SpaceX
and @Astro_Reid and @AstroPeggy.
I want to take you outside tonight
and tell you about Mom’s very best
summer. How I looked just like you
and wore a sky-blue bathing suit for six
straight days. The salt air smelled like
sunscreen and my steps barely held me
to the sand. I want to tell you how
your aunts and I got to stay up late
and lower the backs of rusted yellow
loungers on the beach house deck.
We stretched out tan and tar-footed
singing Casey Kasem’s Top 40 to the stars:
Pilot of the airwaves, here is my request.
You don’t have to play it, but I hope
you’ll do your best. The same way you
sing your songs now. The same way you
sing. I want you to hear how your grandpa
said hush and we know he meant look.
For the light up there that’s moving
with us. Maybe a satellite he sent last
summer. If you are willing to wait it will
find you. Follow it until it fades away.
Son, you are moving, too. You are moving
too fast. I want to tell you to slow down.
I want to say you should think about
studying science in college and it is okay
to stray from the straight path I put
you on. I want to say hey I think we might
be on Mars right now. Do you know why
we still have not floated away? The heavy
sky is holding us down.

April 2017