Charles Hood

1. Phobos

This one looks bent, not a moon                       
plus says I'm sorry, I'm sorry, way

races its own bunched shadow,
wad. Just another flawed clod

by the U.S. Naval Observatory,
means something very important

just is that part in the Iliad
when Ares in school Latin

twins dread and fear. Do we
care? In 1877 even night sky

astronomy. He had married
who found this moon. 1877:

and a Vanderbilt; Crazy Horse
bayonetted from behind. This was

or take. You were fear and dread,
A white corset sleeps on the floor

rolls. Somebody had unbuttoned
here we all are, strange air. Try

the Windsor knot in your tie,
but you will die by smashing

degraded and trembling,
that's why we practice dancing

to get used to being so close
to do it, to crash through

trash? The water in my jelly jar
Formica tabletop trembles

and even the fish in the bowl
as if already knowing what she

as if already held in the wet hands

but a bad ping pong ball,                                  
too often. Rises in the west,

sets in the east, contrary spit
named for phobia. No, named

1877. Phobos—its name, like yours,
to somebody, or did once, now

nobody reads anymore page 127
summons Deimos and Phobos,

still dread dying? Fear it? Hardly
promised empires: a manifest

his math teacher, the fellow
Brigham Young had just died,

in newspapers had died in prison,
yesterday. You were alive then give

no, you were starlight and vodka.
by the bed. Coffee in the morning,

something on somebody and then
thinking about something else—

your plush new socks. Phobos, sorry
into the parent, but so will we all,

begging for one more day, maybe
by standing on their shoes, just

yet still touched by love. Will it hurt
the mother's teeth and become black

drinking glass on the strip-edged
as my mother leans down closer

has gone mad, racing back and forth,
will do to me when she gets here,

of some new and terrible god.


2. Deimos

When we get to Deimos will it be like Heaven, and if so will there be sparrow hawks to eat the sparrows, and if there are, what will eat them or will everybody eat melon and honey and then get ready to sing? Do ants and flies have a different Heaven? Do Catholics? To be an astronaut you need a short haircut and some branch of faith relating to Presbyterianism. Can we shoot guns in Heaven, maybe something nice, engraved and with inlay. Who will do the inlaying and from whom will we get the ivory, the silver, the walnut shoulder stock. What if Heaven only has softwoods, junk trees, crook grain and pith. It doesn't have to be guns. What if the deer in their perfected and restored bodies can run so far and so fast no 150 grain carbon fiber shaft two-inch vane arrow can leave my bow and ever catch up? More singing I guess. How long can you sing—days, weeks? Can we go to Hell and torment the wretches? They are dead and in Hell already, so what could be worse?

Not any visit by us, surely.


The piece in this issue comes from a manuscript that tries to include all of the moons of the solar system, a project that began when Hood was at the South Pole as an artist in residence with the National Science Foundation.