Size / / /

the ordinary twins Abner and Ernie
born on the first day of January
were two sides of the same coin
just inverted images in a looking glass

as boys they shared a room and plowed
an acre of grandfather's tobacco farm
equally harnessed to a blind mule
toiling at a task lost to time

all the while Abner was calculating
a trajectory through the space program
and into the ancient sea of stars
Ernie's boots stood firm in the furrows

even an astronaut can find time to be
the best man at his only brother's wedding
before accelerating toward the speed of light
in a tiny capsule composed of thin aluminum

sweet Shannon with her gapped-toothed smile
would only know her famous Uncle Abner
by the framed photographs and newsreel
of him waving from rocket scaffolding

and he in return would be dreaming of family
stuck in that moment by his velocity
before returning to the familiar Milky Way
his breathing heavy in his heavy suit

the Earth had circumnavigated the sun
a dozen times but Ernie knew the date
scheduled for his brother's splashdown
knew it like the back of his twin hand

aboard the recovery ship in lawn chairs
Ernie and his wife squeeze each other's hands
Shannon flies a kite at the stern and crewmen
point up at the parachuting spacecraft's descent

what will be said when his helmet is removed
revealing the face he had the day he departed
the memories of hours where his brother had years
no sign of the gray or wrinkles of standing still

 

Copyright © 2002 Jim Heston

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Jim Heston's poetry has been accepted by Sidereality, Alba, Banyan Review, Muse Apprentice Guild, Coffee Press Journal, Snow Monkey, Star*Line, Baylor Magazine, and Mobius in 2003. He edits The Growl Literary Magazine at Carver Academy where he teaches writing. He was the editor-in-chief of The Phoenix literary magazine of Baylor University.



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