ROCKET by Jeff Latosik

Semitrailers, truck-less, parked in equidistant rows

and a salt crust forever on the pane like a low

inclement weather that won’t lift. We’re on the rocket

so named like it might blast us off into interstellar orbit,

but it really just means fewer stops. Not even that.

Those of us who’ve learned to live with the logic

look out from it as we’re uncollected from the ramp

into that drab farrago of factories and offices

I could never find my way back to on my own devices

where signs glow in the twilight that accompanies us:

Featherlite, Best Price, Comfort Zone, Move in This Year…

And why do we take these courses she asks

four buckles on her sleeve with no connecting belt

her friend neck deep in something sludgy, double-kicked.

We know the courses. I button, slouch, conceal my tie.

But what lights in my mind is not a defense that I might

turn and launch but that above her, stone’s throw, is the moon.

Sometimes you see it hanging there in these hours

that we share, tether of the early rising and late-leaving,

this thing I said you can no longer put in poems,

but just the other day someone lifted a finger to it and said:

it looks like you’re thinking something far away.


Piece it together … the illusions of the mind—I catch this

from those headphones that her friend wears now like a brace.

Through the only windows that we ever see inside

four bakers form a tight brigade and tie each other’s knots.

It’s like nothing was said. But a thought bubble hangs,

far projectile in which someone might plant their allegiances.

Weren’t we supposed to be up there sipping the oxygen

from stones and netting sunlight in a web of solar cells?

Hadn’t an elevator been proposed, a counterweight floating

in the dark with no gradient like a final full stop, last brake,

so that I can almost reach out a hand, but the bus shakes.

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