A moon base made with paper on gray sand,
a launching pad of painted balsa wood,
were two of many things I built or planned
throughout my teens and in my childhood.
The models that I built as kid or teen
weren’t only ones I purchased as a kit
but of my own design from things I’d seen,
like rocket gantries with real bulbs that lit.
All the models with which days were filled
are gone, and I don’t make them any more,
but there is something else I love to build,
descendant of the things I made before.
I built space capsules, a mini universe.
Now I encapsulate our lives in verse.
When someone asked me what I liked to do,
I answered, “models,” and they thought I meant
the kind that pose for pictures others view,
not model spaceships welded with cement.
But that’s the kind of model that I loved
to make back in my innocence as teen,
till when a bully, Time, passed and shoved
that era from my life, which felt so mean.
Then other kinds of models were appealing,
like those I made of cardboard and of plastic,
of balsa wood and toothpicks, and congealing
bonds that first were liquid and elastic.
But models now have limited appeal:
a model ship can’t match a ship that’s real.
A model that I built while still a kid,
before I was a pro, and just a novice,
appeared to be an awesome thing I did,
well suited for display in my toy office.
Then I showed a friend who made good fun
of mocking all its sloppiness of glue
and paint, because it had been poorly done,
though of its shabbiness I had no clue.
In retrospect, I’m glad he criticized,
for from this I was driven to improve,
and now for life that’s real, not model-sized,
I aim for one of which God will approve:
to be a good role model – not a saint –
is harder than applying glue or paint.
The models that I built when I was young
were mostly of sleek ships for outer space,
so model vessels from my ceiling hung,
and my small room stood for a cosmic place,
for models represent at tiny scales
things that when compared to them are vast,
and like a model loaded with details,
this life in finite form that will not last
seems to be representing something more,
as did a launch pad model on my shelf,
from which no rocket ship will ever roar,
and this applies, I feel, to my small self:
from building models, I grew up to sense
our small lives model Life that is immense.
Mario A. Pita