Fearing for the Astronauts

by a contributor

Tim Suermondt

One of them landed on the roof,
rolled over a couple of times
and fell into a clump of bushes

reputed to be attractive to every kind
of butterfly. I grabbed at his suit
and helped him up, even helped

unstick his visor and take off
his helmet. “I have a feeling this
isn’t Mars.” “You’re close,” I said—

“It’s Brooklyn.” I suggested he stay
awhile, get his bearings (no pun
intended). I even offered to take him

to dinner and let him spend the night
on the couch. He said he had to return
immediately to his ship and knew

the way, “I go North, or maybe South.”
We walked through the kitchen, past
the unwashed dishes and the noodle boxes,

walked through the living room, past
the bookshelf containing the fat bio
of Werner von Braun and ‘What Do You

Really Mean When You Say Ethics?’
We walked out the door and said goodbye
at the front gate. He tucked his helmet

under his arm, like it was a football,
and did head North only to turn around
and go South. He paid no attention

to the man on the stoop who said, “I love
your costume”—he had a mission to finish.
Later, I cleaned those dishes—with purpose.

Tim Suermondt has published two full-length books of poems: Trying to Help the Elephant Man Dance (The Backwaters Press, 2007) and Just Beautiful (New York Quarterly Books, 2010). He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong.

See Tim’s list of 5 Things You Should Read in our ongoing contributors’ series.