NASA sent the message—Call home.
NASA sent it daily—every pass a few minutes of hope.
NASA gave up looking, hoping for a call
like we gave up on my sister living under a bridge in the City of Angels.
Last night, the news lady said scientists gave up on contact with Polar Lander
and a foot of snow in BEAN-wah. We realized the anchor meant Benewah,
and was still surprised distances could be so vast here,
winter measurable in such degrees.
It tried to call home—like it was supposed to do
but the heat of arrival melted snow so
it slipped below four hundred feet of ice,
cleaving its tongue to the billion dollar thermal jacket.
NASA told the reporter—”So many variables prevent the expected—
you have to spend the money to fail. A lot can happen when you’re that far from home.”
But distance measured in triangulation and parallax
means nothing to an anchorwoman who isn’t from Mars.
The tunnel froze into an ice-clear telescope
beyond which vast distance whirled in a kaleidoscope of stars,
planets, and home which Lander no longer heard calling
yet film captured Earth’s silent blue passing.
The anchor questioned the value of such knowledge when there were people
“starving in Eye-ran and My-sore and Lah-faiyette, which whuz home”
and I wondered if my sister was home or still looking
and if it was scientists, or the media, or my sister who could articulate distance.
NASA heard its call like the flicker of a forty-watt bulb but couldn’t be certain
it wasn’t just noise, while the anchor assured us there was nuthin to rheport.
A call came when we were out—my sister’s voice on the machine.
We notified authorities and waited for another pass to check the immeasurable distance.