Across the kitchen, the Voyager
Golden Record revolves.
In his rocket ship pajamas,
a toddler tiptoes, watching.
We listen together
and not together at all,
hearing without comprehending
the songs of strangers we’ll never see.
Without a common language,
it’s hard to explain anything,
much less this scattered constellation
of cultures I don’t understand myself.
Draw a man and draw a woman, not knowing
what they will mean for him.
Musicians long dead
pluck at stringed instruments
alien to both of us,
and the vibrations begin again.
We orbit each other in cycles of food and sleep,
life forms at opposite ends of this three-bedroom space,
a universe of things in common, and yet
we barely know each other at all.
Over the cluttered countertops,
Unfamiliar notes cross the expanse of filtered air.
Phrases, partially eclipsed by the rattle and ring of plates,
disappear behind the closing of cabinet doors.
I will teach him my handful of words
this child of another millennium,
and listen for him to re-arrange them
in golden and unexpected ways.