Swarms of newcomers invade the park.
As the light fades into an odd blue
hue, the boy stares upward, in his hand
a fortune cookie. The scope of the sky
doesn’t matter when the noon-day
moon invites you to escape.
A gaggle of befuddled geese escape
to a moss-covered pond. Scooters park
along a picket fence, bringing in more day-
trippers impatient for an eclipse. The blue
sunlight edges toward gray, but the sky
is still bright. The father fidgets, his hands
arguing with a camera. The boy hands
his father the fortune. No one escapes
alive. He pockets the fortune as he eyes the sky.
In an old pickup truck, the mother arrives. Park
the picnic basket there, the father points to a blue
tarp weighted with limestone. Every day-
dream is a ready answer, she thinks, her day
overrun with dreams. Her right hand
holds a blank book, while her left holds blue
orchids. A turquoise-tinted humming bird escapes
detection, zipping toward her. The park
floods with tourists the way the sky
floods with birds. Soon there will be no sky
to see, a passerby whispers to the boy. Today
is the boy’s birthday and the ballpark
is where he’d rather be, trying his hand
at magic. Once, the boy narrowly escaped
disappearing into a crowd. Once, out of the blue,
the sun was swallowed by the moon. A blue
moon is not an abomination and the sky
is not the limit, says the mother to the sun. Escape
is in the mind, says the father to himself. The day
inches along, people hand-in-hand,
singing, in love with astronomy. Park
rangers pass out glasses in the parking lot. Blue
petals spill from the mother’s hand. The father escapes
into a daydream. Their son stares at the prophetic sky.
Nancy Chen Long was a 2017 National Endowment of the Arts Creative Writing fellow. Her first book, Light into Bodies (University of Tampa Press, 2017), won the Tampa Review Poetry Prize. Recent work appeared in Southern Review, Cimarron Review, Ninth Letter, Crab Orchard Review, Zone 3, Briar Cliff Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Pleiades, Not Like the Rest of Us: An Anthology of Contemporary Indiana Writers, and elsewhere. She works in Research Technologies at Indiana University.