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Falling Sky, Hope Smoldering

Initial reports claim a white scar
streaking the desert sky, sonic boom
and wind, broken glass in Vegas over

300 miles away, a shockwave so sudden
gamblers drop their drinks and remorseful
addicts repent on Flamingo Ave. Star-

watcher websites crash from the volume

of amateur photos uploaded, a crater
punishing the wastelands of Sonora, smoking

chunk of sky in the center. NASA reps dispel
rumors of alien convoys, Korean ballistics, or
the extinction of man. Just a satellite blown

off course—of course—but Spaceboy’s
wife is there when they pry open

the burning metal, stunned

by a hiss of oxygen, the fuselage frigid,
years untouched by starlight.
Dashboard instruments blink feebly, a capsule

predating microchips, fashioned with slide rules
and pencils. Strapped in the passenger’s seat,
she touches America’s first astronaut,

a Rhesus monkey, circa 1952,
skinny, frozen,
but still breathing.

Armin Tolentino received his MFA at Rutgers University in Newark, NJ and his poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Arsenic Lobster, Common Knowledge, and The Raven Chronicles. He is an Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship recipient and works in anti-poverty and education programming in Portland.

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