“You Will Go to the Moon” by Margaret Shelman

You Will Go to the Moon

Three days seemed like a long time
when I sat crosslegged and barefoot,
my mother thumbing through promises.

This is how you will get to the moon

Even barefoot, I knew that part was a lie.
They would build a space elevator, and the trip
would be almost instant. Easy – it’s just up.

Away you go in the moon car

Learning to drive, three days blink to Monday.
But on the moon, craters still seem like potholes,
and I thought nothing could stand in my way.

This is the moon house

I study physics, fall in love, and as I furnish
our condo with geodes and decorative star charts,
I begin to doubt that I will really visit the moon.

You will sit here with the rocket men

Now, I sit crosslegged with a tub of Dippin Dots
as today crumples to history: a commercial capsule
meets the space station (it doesn’t go on to the moon).

Smells like a new car

Don says, and I know the truth is mundane.


Margaret Shelman is a Georgia native and recent Boston transplant. After studying English Literature and Geology at Vanderbilt University, she earned her MS in Geology from the University of North Carolina. Her nonfiction science writing has appeared in Natural History Magazine and The Pipettepen among other outlets under the name Margaret Jones.

Featured image by Davide Goldin

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