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poetry Men Walking on the Moon, 50th Anniversary

Hayden Saunier’s poem about the moon walk evokes a hidden memory of wartime trauma.

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Men Walking on the Moon, 50th Anniversary

By Hayden Saunier

We were all remembering where

we’d been that night, and if alive, how young


we were, when a friend said it was the only time

she ever heard her father talk about the war


he’d fought in years before in the Pacific.

That when he saw the first footprints


deep in lunar dust—how the boots had stamped

themselves down into the soft white surface


and no wind stirred— he said: that’s what

the ground was like at Nagasaki when we


were sent in afterward. Our boot prints sunk

into ash. Then he said nothing more.

Hayden Saunier’s work has been awarded the Pablo Neruda Prize, Rattle Poetry Prize, and Gell Poetry Award, among others. Her newest book, A Cartography of Home will be published in February 2021 by Terrapin Books. More about her online at