Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Stars Fell on Alabama

The stars fell on me last night,

in a very literal sense.

The farther you go out in space,

the weirder things get.

I was pulled into an invisible vortex,

and all of space and time and matter

started bending around me,

and the metal of my ship was tearing and twisting,

falling apart with hellish groans.

And I should have been destroyed then,

and maybe I was,

but just when I thought

I’d be ripped into ribbons,

everything went white and silent,

then I opened my eyes

and it was 1978,

and I was two years old again,

in my parents’ old house

in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Everything seemed so large and strange.

A sunbeam poured through my bedroom window.

A softly droning box fan

made the white lacy curtains flutter,

and a dog was barking in the yard next door.

I had just woken up from a nap,

and I was determined to get out of my crib,

so I stood up on the little mattress,

threw one leg over the white railing,

then the other,

then slowly lowered myself down

to the floor,

soft brown carpet beneath my bare feet.

And I toddled out to the living room

to find my mother,

who was drinking a cup of coffee

in the kitchen,

and she looked at me with surprise,

amused but also a bit alarmed,

“How did you get here?” she asked.

And did I remember that right?
Is that what she said?

How could that have happened in 1978?

As soon as I doubted this vision,

the noise and the gravity and the spiraling

all came back to me

for just a moment,

but then I was through,

the birth was over.

And though I didn’t know where I was,

my ship was in one piece,

and I was in one piece,

and it was very, very black and still.

I could only see a few stars ahead of me,

we bewildered few

who had survived the journey.

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