Earth and SpaceIt’s dark in here.

Yesterday, after the end came, I spotted a soggy tennis ball at the side of the road.

It was in the sand, nearby the strip mall, inches away from rushing tires. Miles away from tennis courts, or even miles from the drooling mouth of a happy dog.

It gets easier to wonder about randomness. About pointlessness. It gets easier to say “I have no mission” and to float in the dark ether, pulling weeds for no reason– launching them, too, into rootless wonder. It gets easier.

This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I’m stepping through the door
And I’m floating in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today

For here
Am I sitting in a tin can
Far above the world
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do

— David Bowie

Under a Sheltering Sky
I am looking down the well, imagining my reflection, imagining water itself.

From the beginning — all along– I could smell the dry dust. I have the Chanez nose– I smelled and ignored it.

Everyone around pitched in, gave me their spit of hope. Some stood by me — maybe — or others had to go… to spit and forget. I watched their skirts fly away, but I would not chase them. My news story is recycled like any other. Dust returning too. Yet all along I hung here with my head in the darkness, sniffing for water in a barren hole.

I can walk. I have good family. There is pinpointed beauty in the budding spring trees. God is swinging real, and, I am told, nothing I am meant to comprehend anyway.

So here I am staring into the dusty hole, thirsty. A stow away on a careless planet.

I used to believe we were just like those trees
We’d grown just as tall and as proud as we pleased
With our feet on the ground and our arms in the breeze
Under a sheltering sky

Twirl me about, and twirl me around
Let me grow dizzy and fall to the ground
And when I look up at you looking down,
Say it was only a dream.

Mary Chapin Carpenter

Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth writes literary non-fiction, haiku, cultural rants, and Demand Poetry in order to forward the cause of beautiful writing. She calls London, Kansas City, and Iowa home.