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The Reluctant Astronaut

by Mary Brunini McArdle

I’ve wandered on an endless quest
In toward the sun and out again,
To reach the system’s boundaries
Eventually the stars to win.

I’ve seen the universe’s heat,
Stared into Betelguese’s maw
Escaped a nova on my heels,
And circled fierce coronas’ claws.

I’ve seen the universe’s cold,
Strange frozen gases, rainbow ice,
And polar caps of unnamed worlds–
Though Terra’s snowfields would suffice;

The galaxies’ eternal wheels
Spin in omniscience, vast and bright–
I think of sparkling, moonlit lakes,
And music–on an earthly night.

I long to greet my home once more,
And hear its eager welcome cry
For me, the traveler in descent
Beneath the broad, retreating sky.

For after tracking angels’ feet,
I find that nothing is of worth
Compared to that unbroken cord
That binds me to the planet Earth.

Copyright © 2009 by Mary Brunini McArdle

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