Now that he’s back on Earth, there’s some stuff to get used to, and he will be adjusting for a while, because spending so much time in micro gravity changes the body. And perhaps the mind!
So I asked Trail Baboon Sing-Song Poet Laureate Tyler Schuyler Wyler to create one of his famous lighter-than-air word confections to honor Kelly. TSW grabbed the necessary supplies and locked himself away in a backyard tool shed, staying there for 340 consecutive hours before emerging with this work of art scribbled on the inside surface of an empty box of Nut Goodies.
It’s final call at Bottom’s End.
A round of suds was bought
as misery engulfed my friend –
a grounded astronaut.
A man who spends much time in space
will change while flying high.
He gets a somewhat puffy face
and lighter in the thigh.
He’d been aloft for many days
but now was unemployed.
He came back full of cosmic rays
and longing for the void.
“I’d wake up as the sun went down
Sometimes, the other way.
It flickered as we went around.
sixteen full times each day.”
“In orbit, friends, I stood so tall.
Down here I sag and bloat.
I walked on ceilings and the wall.”
Even my tears would float.”
“But now I’m held in place without
a chance of pulling free.
I miss the flying all about.
I miss the space debris.”
“My bones are calcium-bereft.
My muscles all got limp.
I’d gladly go back where I left
to be an astro-wimp.”
“Don’t be so eager to depart,”
I told him with a wink.
“Down here when men drink beer and fart,
the capsule doesn’t stink.”
He smiled the smile of one who’s known
an idiot or two.
“I’d go back even though I’ve flown
with guys more crude than you.”
And then he looked away as if
there was no more to say.
An astronaut who’s seen the sun
rise sixteen times a day
Where are you longing to return?