A Hard Time of It

By Kathryn Nevin

It’s a gibbous moon.

The astronauts are out tonight.

Perfecting their craft, fixing

frayed patches, hammering

into the universe in defiance.

I’m turning back,

an illegal move in the middle

of a lonely road,

all windows rattling in the cold.

The faulty heater flickers

off and on.

I’ve crossed two state lines

and passed five places

I once called home --

and still that old, empty

pit-of-the-stomach feeling

of being the only one out here

and nowhere to go.

At least the night is clear.

If it weren’t for automotive defects,

complaints of pain

from nearly frozen fingers,

and a few faintly

shifting voices

from the radio, I bet

I could hear them:

Satellites whirring in splendid

congregation, triumphant

in their mission, fixed

in their direction.