“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.”
As you took your giant leap, we leapt with you
so the dust that crunched around your footprints
billowed around our stuttering mouths choking
out the superlatives too.
But only you covered the blue ball of the distant
Earth with your outstretched thumb and heard God
call your name and felt the Devil try to shake you
from your seat as you came back to us.
We too felt our hearts rise to a crescendo as
you stabbed the ground with the pole and tugged
our flag into a stiffened rectangle of triumphant
human hope. We felt so proud to be a part of it.
But only you felt the fires snap at your windows
blinding with a furnace glow as the sky, boiling with rage,
fought back at your impudent defiance of gravity’s
law and the daring of throwing yourself into the black
lands of the airless outer limits.
All of us cracked our faces into split-mouthed
whoops at how We got up There and back again as
easy as we never thought it could be. The
new legend of science win over nay-saying doubt.
But only you felt the spin of the Earth as you
splashed to a halt with the silk of the chutes
trailing behind you like the skirts of a runaway bride.
Only you had the Right Stuff, and we will never