You could have a big dipper   

/ostracon by Edwin Evans-Thirlwell



Barely broke the sun lay

snowlike upon the bitten ground,

the near Aegean heard, unfed,


dwelt: the world

is seen to its conclusion.

The long walk is not long


nor lonely, the room freundlich.

Such a gas after years of graft

and stickwork


to be dragged from bondage

supine as Hector, and securely.

One last check for Castor, a rap


of the dial, one last bolt

from mission control.

I have wanted to extend this moment


before I am an American

atom of von Braun, his uppermost spoil

a clearing or two in my chest hair.


Lungs to breathe me out, thumbs

to snap my sides together.

Light as rough as coal, though


the weather is cooperating.

The boxed voice trying to

sound bored – cattle through


a herd of trees, a head

slipped into a ring.

All my doing staying still, its painted flex


and dome of beats and persuasions,

spotted rose and barbecues,

a heart that blew like a deskjob.


With my back to gravity

and my feet in the grave.

The pilot is dead, long live


the payload.



Edwin Evans-Thirlwell (he/him) is a writer from London who tweets as @dirigiblebill. The above

poems are from a pamphlet about constructions of identity during NASA’s Mercury and Gemini missions. They draw on reading of Michael Collins’s memoir Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut’s Journeys and Rene Carpenter’s columns for Life Magazine.

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