Poem: Retired Russian Engineer Visits Kennedy Space Center

Andres Rojas


Not out of reverence but out of breath
I almost knelt before the Saturn V,
though I felt reverence – that giant
on its back, slain by years
and budgets, how it could do its job.

Its five F-1s dwarfed me to child-scale.
They were time machines. They could
stop time:
the shortest span humanly possible
is to blink an eye or snap two fingers –
we had to fire thirty engines in far less.

Couldn’t be done. Or not by us.
I remember looking at the moon, July
twentieth, nineteen sixty nine,
seventeen days after the Baikonur
made craters of our ferroconcrete,

thinking all desolations look alike
to those who do not care for them.
But they all have a past. You snap
your fingers, and all of history is there.
You blink, and you’re forty years lost.

This poem first appeared in The Cossack Review, Spring 2014.



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