27 August 2010 | Vol. 10, No. 2
Sputnik as Holy Ghost
Born under the sign of Stromboli, wrinkled
As the face of the two-thousand-year-old man
With skin cap tied with braided thong beneath
His chin, pulled from the bog with forceps, Ingrid
My mother, my father a guy who lived in the sky.
Slipped naked and barefoot out of The Iron Age
Into the 1950's cold and war to be shipped
Upriver, Moses in reverse, to be raised
By a Booneville schoolgirl and the military police.
A garage apartment with dirt floor and rats
Watching me in the cage of my crib watching them
Being shot from its bars by my good mother and her rifle
With the bone sight, a deadeye leaving that indelible
Mark on the soul of the little soldier of Christ, a baptism
In blood. The Stone of Scone disappeared
Into Scotland. Rockets launched. Seven years on,
More sacrament lasered down from the glittering bird
In outer space. I arrived at the speed of fantasy and despair
At inner space and the age of reason under the sky-spark
Of Sputnik's cycling eye. I was asked to pledge
My life to the preservation of capitalism and
The Catholic Church. I had already swallowed Jesus.
O the Sputnik, oowah, it sang my name, it sang
My papery-whispery name: Baby Bleep. Baby Bleep Bleep Bleep.
About the author:
Gregory Donovan is Senior Editor of the online journal Blackbird and author of the poetry collection Calling His Children Home, winner of the Devins Award, as well as poetry, essays, and fiction published in the Kenyon Review, the Southern Review, New England Review, Chautauqua, storySouth, MiPOesias, the Southern Quarterly, and elsewhere. He teaches in the graduate creative writing program at Virginia Commonwealth University, and helped establish its study abroad programs in Scotland and in Peru.
For further reading:
See the complete list of work by Gregory Donovan at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 10, No. 2, where "Sputnik as Holy Ghost" ran on August 27, 2010. List other work with these same labels: poetry.