The Greenville Poets

By Lianne Spidel

During his first orbit, I lay
in a hospital bed, wrapped
in a piano concerto by Brahms
which someone had turned on
by accident, my black-haired son
bundled in his isolette, caught up
in the first of wordless dreams
he would never learn to compromise,
while an Ohio-born traveler
circled our adventure with his own.

When we met him years later,
stumping Ohio in the seventies,
he crinkled his eyes and said
I looked like Annie. She told me
they ate by candlelight every night,
even if it was only hot dogs.

Last week my son, late bloomer,
weightless with euphoria, married
the girl he said he had to have,
and today the old astronaut,
launched safely again into space,
comments on the beauty of Hawaii,
where perhaps the honeymooners
find a moment to shield their eyes
and scan the sky.

On my refrigerator a clipping—
Annie brave in a pale hat,
her balding husband’s hand
on her shoulder, reminder
that all adventurers who soar
must then descend, survive
the terrors of re-entry, and find
their footing on this common ground.

for John and Annie Glenn
and John and Sara Spidel, October 1998

Wisconsin Review, Vol. 35, Issue 2, 2001
I Have My Own Song For It: Modern Poems of Ohio, University of Akron Press, 2002