Apollo

By Elizabeth Alexander b. 1962 Elizabeth Alexander
We pull off
to a road shack
in Massachusetts
to watch men walk

on the moon. We did   
the same thing
for three two one
blast off, and now

we watch the same men   
bounce in and out
of craters. I want
a Coke and a hamburger.

Because the men
are walking on the moon   
which is now irrefutably   
not green, not cheese,

not a shiny dime floating   
in a cold blue,
the way I'd thought,
the road shack people don't

notice we are a black   
family not from there,   
the way it mostly goes.   
This talking through

static, bounces in space-
boots, tethered   
to cords is much   
stranger, stranger

even than we are.

Elizabeth Alexander, “Apollo” from Poetry (April 1992). Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Source: Poetry (April 1992).

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This poem originally appeared in the April 1992 issue of Poetry magazine

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April 1992
 Elizabeth  Alexander

Biography

Elizabeth Alexander was born in Harlem, New York, but grew up in Washington, DC, the daughter of former United States Secretary of the Army and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission chairman, Clifford Alexander Jr. She holds degrees from Yale, Boston University and the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned her PhD. Currently the chair of African American Studies at Yale, Alexander is a highly respected teacher and . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Stars, Planets, Heavens, History & Politics, Social Commentaries, Race & Ethnicity, Activities, Nature, Eating & Drinking

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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