We drank Tang, just like the astronauts,
but stopped short of breakfasting
on freeze-dried eggs. Saturdays,
Dad melted Crisco in the fryer,
dropped little meteors of batter
into the bubbles, served up fritters
with real maple syrup. Sixties kids
had it made in the shade— all-day freedom
on banana-seat bikes, Oscar Meyer
bologna sandwiches eaten on the fly,
Nestle’s chocolate chips folded
into Toll House cookie dough by Mom,
a June Cleaver clone except that she wore
capris instead of a dress, and hair statuesque
in an eight-inch beehive. Her Max Factor lipstick—
Electric Pink— always freshly applied,
the house swept, dusted, and promptly at 6,
martini’d. The family’s crisp white edges
began to curl at cocktail hour, threatened to tear
at dinner, the effort of kindness simply
too burdensome for our mission commander to bear.
As the Green Giant canned peas were passed
and the potato-chipped tuna noodle casserole
spooned out, one wrong word, an errant opinion,
an ill-timed sigh— and all planets ceased
rotation around the sun. I sat farthest away,
little brother too close. Little elbows on the table…
a big man can be a fast man. A spoon a weapon.
A woman, powerless. A moon child escapes
in her mind-made spaceship— rocketing away
to the lunar maria, their vast darkness
so perfect for hiding.
Ann Weil is a past contributor to Burningword Literary Journal. Her most recent work appears in Maudlin House, Pedestal Magazine, DMQ Review, 3Elements Review, The Shore, and New World Writing Quarterly. Her chapbook, Lifecycle of a Beautiful Woman, debuted in April 2023 from Yellow Arrow Publishing. To read more of her poetry and flash fiction, visit www.annweilpoetry.com.