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After The Last Man on the Moon by Alan Bean

Landing feels like getting off a trampoline,
The weightlessness fading to muscle memory
Choking in the sweet rush of ocean air

The first ones who came back, they put in quarantine
Trying to know if they were the same men who left
Or if they were branded by the moment they were elsewhere

They’re braver now, and as the microphones peel memories
Layer by layer, the moment fades, becomes a story
You tell others so they feel like they understand

The trouble is, this isn’t the world you left:
It sprawls overwhelmingly, missing the friction
between action and reaction, impact and sound

So maybe the moment didn’t disappear
Maybe you exhaled it on that first winter day
And it hung in the air and settled everywhere

Left a thin film between you and the world
Wedging itself in the nooks and crannies of the rest
of your life: like beach sand, or moondust.



Thomas White studies aerospace engineering and creative writing at Stanford University. In his spare time, he fences, reads while walking, and plays in an amateur space-themed cover band.
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20 May 2024

Andrew was convinced the writer had been trans. By this point his friends were tired of hearing about it, but he had no one else to tell besides the internet, and he was too smart for that. That would be asking for it.
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