FREQUENT FLYER

Carried down to its golden sands
In the Wright Brothers’ steady hands
You flew across the beach at Kitty Hawk
Brand new. As swooping gulls
Cawed angrily “The sky is ours!
You cannot have it too!”
You soared above the reeds and dunes.
Defying gravity. Making history.

Then you flew to the Moon,
Shaken in your wooden frame
By sonic booms as the gleaming white
Saturn Five pierced Florida’s sky
En-route to another beach, this time
On the Sea of Tranquility’s bone-dry shore.
No angry birds there,
No caps flung high into the air,
Only an ink-black sky awash with stars
And Earth, a splash of white and blue.

Now you are on Mars, a world so far away
Sunlight takes 15 minutes to reach your whirring blades,
Seventy-eight times longer than your
First flight lasted. Soon you will rise,
Buzzing like a bee blasted from a martian’s gun,
Flying through an alien pink sky
Beneath not one but two bone fragment moons
And an icy, shrunken Sun.

And after that? Surely your journey will continue.
You’ll hitch a ride through space again,
Swapping Jezero for Europa’s icy plains
Before flying over tholin-stained sand
On the shores of Titan’s lakes,
Hopscotching between strange new worlds,
Each one another Kitty Hawk
On our flight across the Milky Way…

Stuart Atkinson 2021

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