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

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.

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