There is no sound on the moon. Too little atmosphere and yet they say it rung
like a bell when they crashed the lunar module into it (on purpose)—the way
some angry kid might wreck a car he’s hotwired, knowing he can’t keep it,
knowing there would be a reckoning. So, having torn up the grass of every field
in town, and driven wild down every private road, the radio turned all the way
up, windows wide open, he takes it to it the top of a hill, throws it into neutral, then
aaaaahops out,
running. I have had my bell rung too many times to count, only to be sent
back into the game, across the brittle grass of the high-school football field,
having guessed right at the number of fingers, the day, where I was and what
I was doing. (what was I doing?) First, I should say, how much we didn’t know—
that this was normal. And you can’t really blame the coach (who was, more
often than not, a father ) for doing what coaches, what fathers do, teaching
a boy to get back up off the ground, looking into eyes that were once his own,
telling himself there is no damage done because there was no damage done
to him. So get back out there, son. Not knowing or admitting if ever how long
far off the reckoning would come. And it always comes. It’s enough to make you
your lungs out only no one can hear you above the roaring the ringing,
concussions and repercussions all around. Shuddering in place.
When the module struck, it hit with the force of a ton of TNT, the reactions,
seismic, and the moon vibrated for over an hour—so long, some wondered
if it might be hollow. When you strike a thing that hard there is always
a consequence, even if you can’t hear it, even if there is no bruise, something
that can be measured not just by the damage done but its reverberations singing
back through space a quavering note which goes on and on long after everything
beneath the surface settles to new places though it looks the same with the same
smooth blank look on so many smooth blank faces, long after the impact has come
and gone long after the father forgets the name of the son and we’ve left so many
aaaaafootprints like scars upon the surface of the moon



Joel Peckham JR