The Last Cosmonaut image

Conclusion of The Last Cosmonaut

By John Barr / from Opcit at Large

As the tip of a plow catches the shroud of sod
and begins its work, so this pod
will homestead earth's freemantle air.
As an elevator in its infinite wisdom
shuts its doors and drops, so this capsule
in a plummet will scare the damn out of me entire.
As an oven you open to an ebullience of heat will test
the limits of temperature's ability to affect us,
so this capsule like a flame-chosen steak,
like a hamburger on a grill, will knit with heat.
Till words won't hold the weight of it this pod,
Ibn within, will break into flame like a final poem.

And it may be, on the flaxen slab of Arabia,
a shepherd will point with his crook and cry
The Star! From Bethlehem!

And it may be, a mendicant in European woods
will look up from his mumble of misericord
and whisper Christ! Comes the child on his ridden ray!

And it may be a rabbi by the Red Sea's birth canal
will ask Shapely Spirit, is it you? The one foretold?

And it may be, all over America, children looking
for Santa sign, checking the roof for reindeer scat,
will shout He's here! The fat man with our toys!
It may be the capsule will come down as fully deployed
and ineffective as a shredded parachute.
Like a fire hose unheld by firemen, like a bird
with four wings, trying to fly, it may come crashing
like a load of angle iron from the sky,
like a shower of insupportable debris,
to cartwheel in a cornfield, the nose cone
70 miles away. And Opcit may come down,
all beef and brains, looking like where the sauce
hit the spaghetti. He will be dead and then some.

Or it may be he will plane as much as he plummets,
soar as much as he sinks. In a long day's journey
into Horse Sense, into Public Transportation
he will contrail the world at seven altitudes.
Descending in a flattening urgency,
executing long slow dodges to starboard, to port
he will brody the broad reaches of thunderhead,
he will thunder storm. Behind the capsule window,
the wind of Doolittle––strong enough to unsteady
a mountain, the drama of descending in snow,
At a thousand unrescued feet the Krumfpod Landing System
will deploy: Down scream the wheels, the flaps and the mud flaps.
As landing is a reach for stability in a moment
of instability, he will give the oops, followed by impact.
A snuff of smoke from the tires as it touches down,
and the capsule will hold the road so pretty-good,
will roll to a stop on a snowy interstate.
A bring as the screws unseat from the flux of the nuts,
and Opcit will emerge from his lunar cocoon.

Under an earthbound moon a farmhouse, far
afield, twinkles with lights of its own.
He begins to hum the angle-iron blues.
He begins to walk in parliamentary shoes.
In the gigantic East he can just discern
the imminence of the radiance to come.

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