Poems of the Week


by Dan Campion

“Who’s an astronaut as private spaceflight picks up speed?”

I asked my teacher, as a lad
(A ’50s sci-fi nerd),
How “astronaut” was spelled. My bad.
She said, “There’s no such word.”

Imagine! Well, I had to punt.
“A space cadet,” I guess
I wrote. Now scribes again must hunt,
Like me under duress,

For alternates to “astronaut,”
Which rose to honorific
That many claim should not be bought,
But earned by trials terrific

Mere ticket holders have not passed.
“Space tourists”? “Loads that pay”?
When first-stage engines start to blast,
Let’s say, “shipmates who pray.”