Lost Weekend at Lunaland©®™!

spring 1974: Westward Chev!

We drive over the hot skin of a dead black
line in a race toward the tectonic edge of dire
imagination: Disneyland©®™! Half alert
to what we may have been talking about,
or not, the children seem protected again
in a web of reluctant parental cheerfulness.

In no more than mechanical safety, they sleep
while we watch for the edge of the world.
On the way there we drive toward
the glaucous farm acres boxed in squares
around the town of Indio, just this side
of the last crumble of horizon. Then the dark.

The streak of moss-green between road cuts
widens into a varied green patch-quilt
in mottled shades of crop. Carol turns around
and mentions to the kids something about
how the land below is so different now,
to which Jackie, who has just turned
“I’m six now,” replies, “Is that Land?!!”—

Like the first little girl to cross the ice bridge
she is thrilled at the discovery she doesn’t know
she shares with Emily Dickinson and Nellie Bly
and Amelia Earhart—or Sappho inventing
axial love in poiesis tuned to the “radiant lyre.”
Land, Oh!! or in a peep of the child’s elation:
[Eureka!] or Ooooh!

*

Neil Armstrong looks over to his co-pilot
and announces that they are about to land.
Jackie looks hard at the surface of the cold
Moon and asks back to Neil, “Is that Land?!!”

So much reality is made of circumstance
and myth, slowing what goes round to keep it
from dying out. The Mojave Desert, the Moon:
it’s all “that Land?”!! in the moment of discovery.

In the moment of ownership it becomes
“one small step,” a clod of history kilned, fired
into heroic headlines above the soothing patriotism
of a New American Epic: rates for every budget.

Richard Fenton Sederstrom was raised and lives in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and the North Woods of Minnesota. Sederstrom is the author of seven books of poetry, his newest book, Icarus Rising, Misadventures in Ascension, published by Jackpine Writers' Bloc, was released last winter. Read other articles by Richard Fenton.