The Eagle Has Landed

Bill Gillard

Want to hear a true story?
After last night’s bike ride
around the neighborhood with
my girls, I was clearing up our
gear and stowing it in the garage.

I took off my sweaty glasses and
accidentally left them on the hood
of my wife’s Scion. Only this morning
did I remember doing that. My wife
and the Scion were long gone to work
by then and so I searched for my glasses
on the driveway and out into the street.

Somehow, they had vanished.

But later in the gutter in front of my
house—a place where only leaves gather
in this polite Midwestern town—I
spotted a hand-sized brass rectangle.
HERE MEN FROM THE PLANET
EARTH it began FIRST SET FOOT
UPON THE MOON JULY 1969 A.D.
WE CAME IN PEACE FOR ALL
MANKIND and it was signed in
brass by Messrs. Nixon, Aldrin,
Armstrong, and Collins.

What a strange trade the universe
had made with me: a brass plaque
that remembers a long-ended
journey to space in exchange for
my ability to see what's immediately
in front of me. That’s as perfect a
metaphor for aging as you’ll ever find.

I must have looked like a maniac
on the Appleton morning, hands on
my creaky knees, laughing.

 
 
Bill Gillard

Bill Gillard

Bill Gillard is an award-winning teacher of creative writing and literature at the University of Wisconsin – Fox Valley. His writing has appeared in Flash Fiction Magazine, The Literary Review, The Writer's Chronicle, Wisconsin Poet’s Calendar, River Poets Journal, Chiron Review, Paradigm, Review Americana, Dark Sky Magazine, and many others. His most recent chapbook is Ode to Sandra Hook (Finishing Line Press). He is editor-in-chief of Fox Cry Review, a microscopic literary magazine in northeast Wisconsin. He earned an MFA from Fairleigh Dickinson University and is a recovering youth hockey coach.

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