From orbit we see azure oceans,
Take a photo that misses gunfire flashes;
The dull crump of a kitchen table bomb.
But still we push grey buttons, twist dials,
Beg to be allowed to fall home.
Re-entry is rough; we jolt, jerk, judder;
Restraints strain viciously to keep us in place,
Still we rattle, bouncing in padded seats.
Unfit to face stark, harsh fear.
Unfit to face Charlie’s flash frozen window stare.
His silent prayer that that screaming wasn’t
Heat soft metal tearing, ripping, cracking.
The flash of a tile sizzling free.
Unfit to face Jake’s smile, with his easy belief
In us, himself, God; in NASA, science, man.
The bald dragon belly we ride in shakes and shudders
I see an end in the piercing friction fire and we
Fall across the light side.
For a moment eyes flicker
Across snow-capped mountains, green valleys and we
Fall across the dark side.