High Spirits

Descending on lunar surface, he radios earth, maps terrain, collects samples, plants flag. Then jumps with joy. Six times high. Eventually it’s a flea market just raising its head above the waves. The clamor of bells at the Sebastian Church, and his cousin saying, ‘Ajeah has been calling you.’ He ignores Sanju, responds to the tall man in a baseball cap, ‘Five mouths.’ The tourist squeezes in an extra dollar in his hands, imagines a brood of hungry kids waiting for papa, then scrabbles around in the darkness after entering a massive dome with moist pungent odor, the mix of perfumes.

The reel begins to unspool on cloth screen hung on poles, a fool’s distraction in this quiet beach town. Thinking it’s money’s worth, audience gapes.

Now, he retreats to the gloom. Radios earth, maps terrain, collects samples, plants flag. Same as the Armstrong movie screening. Imagines just Ajeah and himself. On lunar surface. Showing her around. Maria and terrae, without the shadow of earthian troubles. Saying, they needn’t wait for Ajeah’s mother, stiffly against a man barely earning enough to feed himself, to approve the union. Because a moon is a moon is a moon.

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