A Poem for Tracy K. Smith

  What does the storm set free?
        Spirits stripped of flesh on their slow walk.
— “The Speed of Belief,” from Life on Mars, by Tracy K. Smith

So we both lost our fathers,
your Floyd William Smith, 1935-2008
and my Richard Alan Sharp, 1936-2007,
both engineers, yours worked on the Hubble
and mine on the fuel cell for Gemini in the 60s.
You think of the soul wandering, a man
without country, spinning,  perhaps to touch
down on Earth again, through you,
while I imagine the soul, or something
like one, fueling a distant star cluster
with a power that could only be love.
And so I am left to look at you, wide-eyed
with hair exploding like a supernova,
and believe I see him there, too,
in your smile, seeing through your eyes,
your father who looked to the stars,
toward my father, burning in the night.