Lula Del Ray
maybe twelve years old if anyone had bothered to count
wasn't sure what to do with herself
now that she was properly free
whatever it is
You couldn't walk to space.
She knew that much.
Certainly not on her spindly legs and tender feet
grown soft from years aloft, surrounded by tiny-flowered wall paper.
So she did the next best thing
(which is as you know
so often the next thing you think),
she spindled and shimmied all fingers and toes
up the stem of the biggest dish she could find
dangle-legged right on the lip.
The quiet red nose-lights at the tips blinked dumbly at her
out of synch
and she watched the
tumble weeds tumble.
It wasn't quite what she had imagined
Rugged, certainly, she had been expecting.
But this was just hardened clay.
Empty dips and valleys,
of lava (she assumed anyway, that lava was at least around the corner).
Just a distinct sense of gotten-up-and-gone.
Nothing to see,
no hot-bellied lizard scramble
nor sugar puff mouse jump.
Nothing to see but.
A big tumbleweed.
An enormous tumbleweed.
A big, enormous, brambly, leather-skinned tumbleball
all covered in wiry hairs
headed straight for her.
it sent the dish spinning wild.
Tossing her up up up
till she saw it.
It was faint, hidden behind some clouds, but she saw it.
She was sure.
All the hidden junk and mess she was after
the waves that had shuffled across her eardrums so many times
the constellations full of noblemen and archers.
she was yanked down back the way she came.
Before she could even remember to be afraid
she was back on earth
floating above the ground
in a nest of bristles and leather and sweat
bathed in something that could only be described as
the sweet, earthy musk of freshly chewed grubs
Bat-eared, rat-eyed, elephant-trunked and turtle-shelled,
other little girls of weaker compositions could be forgiven
for fainting at such a savior,
but not Lula Del Ray.
She had other issues to sort out.
She hopped down out of his arms, scowling
muttering half-curses about
near round knocking kids into the ozone.
The Armadillo tipped back on his tail shaking with laughter.
"I knew I'd catch you."
“You could’ve killed me!”
He laughed harder.
“Relax. I saved your life. It’s no big deal.”
"I'd sooner die than be indebted to an Aardvark."
"What's your name?"
She explained to him about the tiny house
The New Baden Brothers
and the sad, aimless rotation of their satellite home.
He told her stories of wild adventure
swashbuckling and monkeyshines.
About how he had seen the whole world at least twice over
from the suboceanic volcanoes
to the frigid Andes' peaks.
And in all his time
he had never once noticed
a couple of cowpoke (inauthentic or otherwise)
in outer space.
But they both agreed
that didn't mean they weren't real.