Last Chance to See (Part 11)

The prisoners sat in Poetry Appreciation chairs—strapped in. Vogons suffered no illusions as to the regard their works were generally held in. Their early attempts at composition had been part of a bludgeoning insistence that they be accepted as a properly evolved and cultured race, but now the only thing that kept them going was sheer bloody-mindedness. ~Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Excerpt from Diane Ackerman’s “Space Shuttle”

By all-star orchestra, they dine in space
in a long steel muscle so fast it floats,
in a light waltz they lie still as amber
watching Earth stir in her sleep beneath them.

In zero gravity, their hearts will be light,
not three pounds of blood, dream and gristle.
When they were young, the sky was a tree
whose cool branches they climbed,
sweaty in August, and now they are the sky
children imagine as invisible limbs.

Excerpt from Mary Jo Salter’s “A Kiss in Space”

      That the picture
    in The Times is a blur
  is itself an accuracy. Where
this has happened is so remote
  that clarity would misrepresent
not only distance but our feeling
  about distance: just as
the first listeners at the telephone
  were somehow reassured to hear
static that interfered with hearing
  (funny word, static, that conveys
the atom’s restlessness), we’re
  not even now—at the far end
of the century—entirely ready
  to look at satellites for mere

      resolution. When the Mir
    invited the first American
  astronaut to swim in the pool
of knowledge with Russians, he floated
  exactly as he would have in space
stations of our own: no lane
  to stay in, no line to determine […]

Excerpt from Anna Leahy’s “After Challenger”

Was there a red light flashing, a split-second memory?
Mark and remember this
like the first walk on the moon, one giant leap,

I should remember something
that places me and marks my beginning[.]


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