Hobble Creek Review
Han Solo Explains The Universe
It is 1977 and I am seven and seven is everyone’s lucky number.
I have never been able to turn a cartwheel – my mistake
is expecting this will change – expecting I will grow
into the spin and whirl, the placing of hands on solid ground
then the letting go of this earth, the seeing what happens next.
In ascending order: jackknife, Hot Wheels Porsche, Plastic M-16,
library books, first baseman’s mitt, cassette deck, Han Solo.
Anything I offer about the stars over Alabama in the 1970s
will sound made up, the trick of a fickle memory.
The sky turns green and tangible during tornado season, leaving
the world underwater and my parents arguing
over whether to go to the grand opening of the Handy Dan.
We color stars white but in truth they are blue or pink,
light bending across the impossible arc of distance and time
and what appears black is only the limit of our field of vision –
we believe we want to be the hero but in truth
knowing what we want has never been our strength.
Han Solo is no one’s savior. Han Solo
shoots first. And last. Han Solo
has a keen sense of what’s impossible.
Han Solo has a ship full of money
and his unrequited love to keep him company.
The movie has so many things wrong
and the sequels are someone else’s dreams –
there’s a limit to how much truth we can stand.
What we think of as beauty is, in fact, dust.
Imagine the slamming of a screen door. The ache
in the back of the throat that stands for yearning.
Imagine the rules changing. And changing.
Imagine not being told the rules in the first place –
if I could return, would I? What would be
different? In all my memories of my parents
they are in separate rooms. Yet I know
this is invented. I’ve gotten it wrong,
and still am. The fire starts. How bright the ice that burns.
Han Solo does not need an origin story.
Han Solo does not need your religion,
your narrative rules, your rhyme.
Han Solo is peacock and pose,
blast and swagger, skinny legs
and a mouthful of galaxies.
Han Solo is black hole swallowing,
Death Star exploding,
star winking out – the light, the absence.
Han Solo has never been captured –
carbonite is an illusion. Han Solo
is and is and simply is.
My father is not Han Solo.
I am not Han Solo.
is the ending is obvious –
of film slapping against projector,
motes suddenly visible
in a horizontal shaft of light.
It is 2013 and my tolerance for standing in line
has dwindled to nothing.
Han Solo lives across the street from me now,
neighbor but nothing like neighborly,
house in foreclosure, yard overgrown,
we see him buying wine
in his black vest and plaid pajama pants,
wife gone, girlfriend gone,
he yells at our children,
he is a cartoon character, bloated and sad
and full of anger. We peer
in his front window: a hallway full
of garbage, a radio on too loud all night,
receiving signals from somewhere
and spitting them out.
Amorak Huey, a former newspaper reporter and editor, teaches writing
at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. His chapbook, THE
INSOMNIAC CIRCUS is forthcoming in 2014 from Hyacinth Girl Press.
His poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry 2012, The
Southern Review, Caketrain, Rattle, Menacing Hedge, and many other
journals. Follow him on Twitter: @amorak.