smells of moondust and cordite,
is paler than talc, and
walks funny, especially during
the first few days of furlough.
Mother, he'll hug outright, but
before he'll give any of us kids
piggyback rides, we have to undergo
examination via portable scanner. Our
father, it seems, has never gotten
over his fear of "infiltrates," yet
with hand shadows can shape nine
different alien species on the wall.
His keloid scars form no discernable pattern.
Our father (who art from heaven)
sleeps standing-up, in an anti-
gravity chamber, but Mother
will join him only if he takes off
his socks and locks his ray gun.
new nicknames for us emerge
in quick enough order,
our salutes grow regulation crisp,
and every one of our tickle zones are
soon identified and placed under
After a while, we become less frightened
of him, but still never stop calling
him "sir" or "Colonel" for the duration
of his visit. (Hallowed be his name.)
When our father goes back to Armstrong,
the new moon
hangs in the sky like a lantern
of black crepe.