The Satellite is Beautiful
The satellite is beautiful. We repeat these four words every day as we walk toward the edge of the field where it sits strapped and bolted, ready to launch. We used to wait until the afternoon, when we could slip through the eyes of the teachers and behind the school. Now that the mist has come to shadow our mornings, we don’t have to wait. The mist makes it impossible for our parents to know if it is their children who have moved in the wrong direction or someone else’s.
The satellite is beautiful. Some days when the sun burns the mist early, making the air sizzle, it glows so bright we must look through barely parted fingers to shield our eyes from its beauty. The edges look like fire. The edges might be fire. The heat bakes us in our places, crouched behind the small bushes that line the inside of the fence.
The satellite is beautiful. We repeat these four words, for to repeat is to internalize and that is a word we had only just learned from the priest before the newspapers stopped arriving on our porches.
The satellite is beautiful. The dishes they are building to catch all of the messages are beautiful too. Sometimes we make the long walk around to the other side of the valley to visit them, our fingers dragging along the fence as we go. The gentle curves invite us to climb into their mothering bellies. We imagine that doing so would provide us great comfort, and though we are restless to act and prevail against something we don’t yet know how to name, the days in the shadows of the dishes are welcome hours of rest.
The satellite is beautiful. We repeat these four words in place of math and poetry. Our books lie idle on our desks and in our floors, sometimes brushing our toes as we climb into beds that we haven’t yet abandoned. We have almost forgotten what it is to draw.
The satellite is beautiful. We repeat these four words. They become our prayer as we see the ones in orange suits turning the bolts and tilting the metal arms, aiming the satellite up toward the light. We forget ourselves and smile, running, no longer caring if we are seen, towards the dishes where we will wait until we receive the messages, where we will wait until we finally know that home has arrived where we are.
The satellite was beautiful. We will always remember it as so. The men sprayed the mist away, and the fence surrounds all of us now. We have returned to school under our parents’ fearful eyes. Yesterday, we were allowed to walk outside, so we visited the dishes. Their insides are diseased and sick with rust, but we strained to see past all of that and stood in a circle, interlacing our smallest fingers until we had little knots of flesh and bone and hope.
About the Author: Christie Wilson lives with her husband and daughter in Illinois. She is currently writing a collection of short fiction and a novel. Visit her here for links to published works or follow her here.