The sky is the limit

(172)

Part 3 of the 62-part series called "moon photos"

We built the rocket ship like Noah built the ark.
We knew that we were right, that there was something
past the sky’s dome, that it wasn’t the end
of everything, like everyone said. People called us
crazy, said we were wasting our time, but they
stood around and watched us anyway. They didn’t have
anything better to do either.
                                After a month,
we decided we were done. We had no authorities
to ask, but the thing looked finished, its wings wide
and welcoming, its nose pointed proudly toward the sun,
its rockets firm and strong like oxen. We climbed in
and flipped all the switches as it hummed awake,
yawning, showing its teeth. We buckled ourselves in.
A countdown seemed appropriate, so we started from five
and when we said, one, we yanked on the reins. The ship
leapt into the sky, spewing smoke, as far as we knew.
All we could see was the blue sky. We couldn’t move, we
were pushed back in our seats, God’s hand on our chests.
We waited to see the limits of the sky.
                                        A minute passed,
maybe five, maybe hundreds. The sky darkened like night
was coming on. We saw the stars glistening like pebbles.
The engines stopped. Silence fell like death. We turned
the boat around and looked at the round earth, all of it
sprawling beneath us like a spill. We wanted nothing more
than to go back. Only now we knew we never could.