So Far, So Good
Jeanne Murray Walker
I'm peering through my son's telescope
to see whether the universe has shrunk
overnight, as the Times claims. I don't doubt it.
If Jack plunks down his milk glass
these days, it entirely blots out Europe.
Yesterday I had to make him uncross
his arms and stop leaning on the world.
Have a little heart, I said,
wiping spaghetti off the teal face of Hungary
on his place mat. Now, as he digs into
his mashed potatoes, I pray for him,
for all kids who'll soon be cut loose
into contracting space, where I could
fax you this in minutes, where the Concorde
swims through our miniature sky like a minnow.
What keeps us, against all odds,
in a universe we know nothing about?
Jack's made it to the age of ten. So far,
so good. But the facts! My neighbor tells me
potatoes, if they're dug too green,
are poison. And how green is too green?
We could keel over from green potatoes
any day, from mother love, from a truckload
of bananas that neglects to swerve. Every morning
I wake up, like the hypochondriac who's cured,
to the shock that we're still safe.
Peer through the telescope. Can you see
the hocus-pocus stars out there?
And scanning across the sky, what's that?
A blue eye blinking—God, it might be—
way out at the edge, so far,
from Gaining Time, © 1997 by Jeanne Murray Walker.
Used by permission of Copper Beech Press.