by Keith Gaboury
“Apollo 14 launched in the late afternoon of January 31, 1971 . . . Stuart Roosa, a
former U.S. Forest Service smokejumper, orbited above in the command module. Packed
in small containers in Roosa’s personal kit were hundreds of tree seeds . . . the resulting
seedlings were planted throughout the United States.”
Dave Williams, nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov
A space-traveling sweetgum seed
found a home in the Central Park woods
among the trees perpetually bound
to the forest floor. This very October morning,
a man went forth down a well-worn path
and swiveled his head into an enchantment.
Damn, what a view to perceive those leaves
shinning in lunar light. Set against a swathe of green,
pockets of photosynthesis growth remained
lost in shadow — like impact craters too deep
to sunbathe in — like an airplane-traveling tourist
stretched out on the Brighton Beach sand —
like a Little Italy baker stretching and rolling
his dough into loaves — like the man’s bike rolling
down to that shitty bodega at Flushing & Bushwick.
He bought a 40 because he found a moon tree today.
What have you accomplished? With the autumn night
knocking, he’s returned with a buzz and discovered
the ghost of its ‘Houston to Mission Control’
past still bursting back; yes, can you see,
can you see our sweetgum seed orbiting
over the peak of an ancient moon mountain.