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.

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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.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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