A Space Shuttle Ride Similar to My Life


The space shuttle has drifted free,

after blasting off from Earth.


The shuttle is like Lindbergh’s plane—

no windows in front to show what's ahead.


So I resign to stand near a side one,

amusing myself with connecting:


stars, planets, comets, and space trash

with imaginary lines to try


and form a future out there—

like grilling steaks on Saturn's rings


or swimming in Pluto's heated pools,

but even when I strain to make something out


I only see spots of light as if shown through

a colander and ambiguously bent to my eyes.


So I must look inside to the ceiling above

to reach and touch, the floor below


to stomp on and the window to steam-up

with my breath—a perfect canvas,


because outside this shuttle it's just planet

after planet or was that one a star,


honestly I don't know the difference,

but I think we've passed all the planets I know


—that's right, there're other people along,

I almost forgot with looking out the window.


Maybe one of them picked up a travel guide,

but they all seem too busy to bother.


Behind me, a young child has fallen down

on all fours for the umpteenth time,


and in front of me an elderly person struggles

                     to stay standing just a little while longer.


J. Lyndon Smith