The Orris: A Cultural Journal

A Retiring

“I once rode through a desert

                and was not charmed” — Auden


With no way to get up there anymore

without hitching a ride with the old enemy;

disgraceful maybe, or just over-trusting.

The world stage changes ever faster these days.


It was never as triumphally phallic

as the old means; the way it opened, its

curves; made for a toy a girl might play with;

balanced form against utility I guess.


Next they should send up a big globule with

tourists trapped inside to amuse the scientists;

some third-worlders with bits of homespun wisdom.

Live bait for the Super Brains and the taunting brave.


Palavering gawkers on the ground await

fragments — remember Challenger? God-awful.

(What were we challenging, humility?)

Maybe this new thing springs a leak, aborts them.


And then what, if another disaster?

Maybe best to stay on the ground for awhile;

sick of always having to conquer the Big

Out There; never willingly looking inward.


I saw one once, coming in at Canaveral.

It was awe-inspiring: but I was a kid,

does that count? my mind marveled at everything.

Uncharmed now, and afraid to vote up or down.


 –Jefferson Riordan





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