Poetry in Orbit

Mystical_Mandala GS Proofs

“Mystical Mandala” by Harshal

The coolest job is astronaut, right? Well, astronaut-poet. Every child’s dream. ‘Cause no one calls it astronautics in motion when someone has a fluid tennis swing. They call it poetry. In motion. As opposed to on the page no one reads. But poetry, still. Someone has to do the job. Not even the astronaut with her engineering degrees and her extra-vehicular activity outside the capsule in orbit fixing what’s wrong in the absence of atmosphere. She would be compared in what she does to poetry in motion, such grace with no gravity. The gravity would be that of the poet cleaning up the solar-alpha rotary joint on the International Space Station high above the Earth. Even the Canadian astronaut who sang “Major Tom” from up there, he might be performing a David Bowie song with that acoustic they let us bring up, the Russian food’s in the red containers here in the kitchen by the way, remember space is really cold and really hot, we might have to go outside and do a space walk, the suit may be 300 pounds but luckily in space nothing really weighs anything — he might be singing the song but that’s not to say he’s the poet. If Bowie were up here he’d spend time in what we call the glass-bottom boat watching the different cloud types over different continents, though usually we’d be over the ocean — look down, we’re right over Africa. Hey, what’s that beside it, coming here? It’s the Soyuz spacecraft. It will take us home later today. There’s a big old hole when they dock and I’m jumping in. Now let’s go down and see the Russian boys. They pinned up a picture of Yuri Gagarin, first man in space, to remind us of our roots.

By Lawrence Wilson