I park on the surface of the moon and walk in the sudden frigid air, my fists stuffed in my jacket pockets, maybe boy appears like a mirage in front of me. My eyes are acting out in a fit of rebellion at my lack of sleep but if I rub them I’ll surely come away with stardust on my fingers and an uneven complexion. Maybe boy laughs with his friends. I am a robot whose joints are frozen with cold as I rush past my maybe boy to settle myself in a cold classroom with inexplicably open windows. Our overly excited principle crackles over the intercom, tries to inject school spirit into our minds like a vaccine against bad behavior. The cold air rushes in and sucks out my empathy. Government is futile. Things most of us should have had programmed in hundreds of tests ago just won’t stick to our cold robot brains today. Spanish thaws my vocal cords and soon my brain. I slough off my robot skin to think in a different language. This I could do, no, have done in my sleep. I conjugate words like a lullaby. Estoy, estas, esta, estamos, estan. I am, you are, he is, we are, they are. But we are not. Lunch brings the melee, kids rushing to feed their needing faces with lukewarm food. I notice them wearing shirts bearing a picture of his face and wonder for a second if it could be the anniversary. Lunch ends though and I forget I even cared about a boy who should be walking across that stage with us but won't. Gas fumes carry me to my resting place and my violin falls into my hands although today the notes sound all wrong. The robot returns and I pluck, annoyed, at the strings that won’t work with my stubby, locking fingers and teacher frowns at the class’s lack of care. My robot self moves through the motions again, instrument to shoulder, bow to hand, to put the smile back on her face. I never liked disappointing her. I play along until the too loud bell tells me I should go. I pull my metal robot body again to the surface of the moon and drive away, over the spot on the road where I know he died and I’m sure I can hear the bones crunch as he falls from the sky again.
A Day On the Moon
February 24, 2010