An astronaut’s intergalactic voyage goes off-course when his power source runs out.
Why’d I become an astronaut? To slip the surly bonds.
I tell my rocket what to do; it instantly responds.
The weight of expectations gone; afloat in zero-G –
and once I made it back to Earth, who’d be a hero? Me!
An all-electric rocket ship; no need for fossil fueling:
a carbon-neutral vehicle (as per EPA ruling).
It seemed like such a grand idea, one worthy of citation –
once at our solar system’s edge, I’d find a charging station.
To keep the payload minimal, there’d be just one crew member,
and so I boarded by myself, with blast-off last September.
An almost silent flightpath, slicing through the exosphere.
I’d call this cage my cozy dwelling for the next few years.
At first, it was exciting: this emission-free excursion.
No time for feeling lonely, or excessive introversion.
But as the days and weeks and months piled up, I understood a
lot more how a solo astronaut could go a bit meshuga.
I whizzed past Mars and Jupiter – next up, I’d zip by Saturn.
By now, my daily routine had become a humdrum pattern.
There wasn’t much for me to do; most tasks were automated,
and eating all those freeze-dried foods meant I was constipated.
Uranus in the rear-view mirror; Pluto loomed ahead.
With no one else to talk to, all my deep thoughts left unsaid.
Just needed to recharge once at our solar system’s terminus,
to then traverse beyond what had been mapped out by Copernicus.
In order to continue with my interstellar chuggin’,
I needed to stop off for one last galvanizing plug-in.
Now, I’d been told a charging port to use was dispatched prior –
but nothing was awaiting me. Somebody was a liar.
Instead of glee and revelry, the mood: anticlimactic.
This threw a monkey wrench into my trek intergalactic.
My course would now be set by Newton’s body-motion laws;
completely out of my control: my roll and pitch and yaw.
Some fickle solar winds and their incalculable force,
depending how they’d blow, would hence determine my ship’s course.
I’d tumble through the ether in a method uncontrollable.
If I were made of weaker stuff, I’d now be inconsolable.
A plan to head to new frontiers? This glitch is sure to spoil it.
I’ll soon lose all my power and, no doubt, use of my toilet.
Surrounded by the inky dark and all of its immensity,
I’ll barely even notice any loss in my bone density.
I’ll never see the earth again, but not sure that I’ll miss it.
Conspiracies abound in which it’s shocking who’s complicit.
The cities are so crowded – one could get lost in the throng there;
increasingly, I felt as if I just did not belong there.
I’d hoped to reach a galaxy whose occupants were humble;
where discourse was considerate and not so rough-and-tumble.
A difference of opinion could be settled without blowup –
and you could drink a case of beer and never have to throw up.
Alas, I’ll never reach that place where life is so serene;
a hard place and a rock now where I find myself between.
I’ll focus on remaining calm; maintaining my composure,
while hoping that I don’t succumb to gamma ray exposure.
The universe is endless and, as I become one with it,
the quality of entropy is what I will exhibit.
Entombed within my capsule, I’ll pass on with just one wish:
I hope someone remembered back at home to feed my fish.
John! It’s Janel from EBWW22! This was the very first piece I have ever read by you and guess what!? I love it! Well done! Did you place in the contest?
Janel! I’m so flattered that you checked out the blog. Glad you enjoyed this piece — something a little out of the ordinary for me. Judging for the first round (out of three) in this contest is still underway; Round 2 begins Dec. 1 so I don’t think I’ll know if I advance until the end of November. So nice meeting you at EBWW2022 — hope you enjoy the book and I’ll look forward to keeping in touch. Please send me a link to your blog and podcast!