In the sky, they saw Henry or what they thought was Henry, a peeping of light, something you had to watch for days against foreground planets and stars to understand as movement.

His mother said, "I see him in my dreams. He has one hand to the glass. And his mouth looks like a great hole in the ocean."

His brother told a story: "On the day before embarkation, he bought a six pack of beer, took it home, and made a pyramid with the bottles. He named each bottle for a variety of destinations he might visit. If you go to his place you'll see the geometry of bottles. You might think I'm kidding but I'm not. I wouldn't joke about such things. It haunts me to think of it."

Henry's father died many years ago so we know nothing about what he might think but would guess these on principle: pride, insolent pride, a dead man's introspection on the unknown and his own place in it, a leveraging of skin into cold places where who knows what might happen.

The land is orange on the upswing of the sun and grows paler as the day wears on. Ear to the ground, you might hear moles moving through the earth, and when the sun finally sets and you look up and find the newly fathomable stars and planets, you might think of Henry's mother who wonders at the upper quadrant of the picture window if her dreams are true.

You say: It's an image of breathless wonder. Imagine it: looking down you see blue clouds. You see enormous cracks on the surface. You know that outside you'd be carried by the momentum of your own speed and would likely be grabbed by the gravity of some large body to steer in ovals forever or until your air is all used up and then you'd be just another dead satellite, observed from whatever surface or found and dissected and wondered over like a frog in biology lab.

They went to Henry's place to test the theory. They broke down the door and found the bottles on the dining room table as spoken. The bottles had a insufferable rind of stone dust on their shoulders, now a finger swipe from time-testing. How much residue on the finger equals quantifiable accumulation but too many variables really to tell other than the date Henry was plugged into the machine and let go.

They went to his girl friend's place next. She said, Oh, yes, we had an agreement. Do you see those kids on the street? They would have been his. Then you hear that banging under the sink? That's the banging of what might have been. You scientists, you adventurers, you engineers. Those are your children; that's your untamed plumbing; and what is he doing do you think, dry in his freezer, green like an old, packaged steak, and we waiting here for the first signal to come of his reawakening. When it happens he'll open his eyes, he will feel such a deep sadness as no man has ever expressed, knowing he can never come home and that he is alone, trapped in the fields between this or that cluster or ancient and golden explosion, and what will he do? Flip a switch, type a message, and under that message, inside that message, like the taste of beer inside unopened bottles, he'll disavow the nature of size, color, and time. He'll write me, say: I feel like nothing I've ever been, yes, like a poet whose quill tip shakes at the finished edge of an unexpected word.