I was listening to Hawkwind’s Quark Strangeness and Charm
in the machinery shed on the farm –
an inheritance of bones in a belt of wheat
the day space junk fell to earth.
I thought the stylus had hit scar tissue on the record
I’d dusted off and pressed into service.
I could see a blur of windmill blades
like the recommissioned fan
of an everglades boat. We were ten years into a drought.
I was no stranger to the wonders
of cosmic travel, or being the beneficiary
of what land and sky can offer.
My geologist uncle once held, at arm’s length, a rock
like a warped planet
in some cottage industry orrery.
Meteorite, he said, tracing the raised
heat-scars with his thumb. Another time he placed
a mottled grey stone in my palm:
You are now being X-rayed by uranium.
I left the shed and walked out into shape-
shifting waves of heat like footage of a crematorium
in full production.
I found twisted metal frames
and cables like a melted cross-
section of the cardio-vascular system. Wildflowers
were in bloom.
What had fallen was scattered
like abandoned sculpture
among everlastings and Queen of Sheba orchids.
One of Skylab’s solar
wing panels was caught in a fence,
its busted mirrors
throwing bits of light like code for an emergency.
It seemed the atmosphere that day
had been arranged
by astral choreography. A lenticular cloud
was stalled overhead like a bell, and the wind
of industry, despite the farm
being fifty miles from town.
I called the authorities, then waited on the verandah,
watching the road for dust.