Matthew Dickman went on a trip.
He put himself into a barrel
and shot his lithe frame into space.
When he got to Venus
he sent me a message.
It was a flower, a purple rose,
from the deep dark.
I will swim today, he said,
in the pink waters of Venus.
It might have been a vagina he was talking about,
but knowing Matthew Dickman means
that when the world looks like an onion
and two kids on bikes about to hit the mud puddle,
that’s about what it’s all about.
I missed him for a second, when I got his rose, and jumped
on my lawnmower to cut the grass
with no shirt on in the thirty five degree Columbia County breeze.
The air against my nipples and mourning doves’ song through the
meant it was spring
even though it was Saturday.
Every daffodil had its head on straight.
Every beaver had a twig in its mouth.
And Dickman was up there orbiting and avoiding,
in full gallop
at 10,000 miles per minute. I shouted,
who the fuck can stop you now, rocket boy!?
But no one could hear a word from my lips,
the mower as loud as a concubine at midnight
between the wet grapes and Egyptian sheets.
The truth of the thing is,
when a man goes on a trip in a barrel
a million miles into space, there’s not a thing any of us can do to stop him.
He comes back when he comes back
and we bake a cake.
Whatever moondust got into his eye, whatever
vision of the celestial madness ricocheted into his lungs,
That song of solitude;
that slow burn of the beautiful abyss.
He’s up there now, Dickman, in the pink waters of his Venus.
I cut this lawn for him.