Shoot the Moon
I was four years old the summer
when astronauts landed on the moon.
My brothers and I
knelt close to our black and white screen
I was excited because they were excited.
But the actual moon walk took place
after midnight local time.
I couldn’t stay awake.
and was so pissed that no one woke me up to see it.
Later my family was discussing a trip
we had taken to the zoo.
My little brain mixed up the words
“zoo” and “moon.”
Soon I was picturing tunnels under
the surface of the moon
filled with cages of tigers and zebras.
For a long time, I was convinced,
inside my own head,
that I, a four-year-old child,
had been aboard a mission to moon.
the teachers would roll out
the big television sets on carts
whenever something big was happening
on one of the missions to the moon.
One time we got to watch a splashdown.
“Splashdowns are my favorite part,”
I assured my first-grade teacher.
As a teacher now
the TVs were not for us
or for any educational value.
The teachers just wanted to watch it themselves.
My brothers were into model rockets.
They built them from kits, inserted engines,
and shot them off.
I was always part
of the ground recovery crew.
One year we took a trip out west
in our old station wagon
pulling a camper trailer.
We saw a sign for the Estes Factory,
the very kits my brothers made.
My dad pulled into the lot,
and they gave a tour
just for our family.
At the end, we got to shoot off a rocket.
I got to press the button.
At least, that is how I remember it.