When I turn on the radio I hear
the story of a dead NASA satellite
about as large as a schoolbus,
which is right this minute falling
to earth and poised to burn in re-entry,
scattering a rain of hefty debris
some time in the next few days.
Where exactly on the six inhabited
continents it will land is anybody’s
guess: though all the wags have
already suggested locations anywhere
from Downing Street to Alaska, to the White
House and Libya. The odds, however,
are about one in 21 trillion that any
of us will be struck by a scrapyard
piece that has actually hurtled
through fields of quietly pulsing stars.
In a manner of speaking, that satellite
has been falling since it was launched
into the atmosphere in 1991, in the same
way mold begins its inevitable descent
upon the wheels of cheese just
lifted out of their cloth, the coarse
brown bricks of bread the baker
slides out of the oven. Even now,
though the season has not truly turned,
the walnut trees have begun to lose
their leaves. The smallest animals
are lining their nests with seed and paste,
preparing to bury themselves in the dark.
In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.