by Larry Pike
STS-79 was launched from Kennedy Space Center at 4:54 a.m., September 16, 1996.
Hopeful pilgrims huddle by the dark sea, anxious for one brave ship,
and I crowd with them. At the edge of the known universe,
swirling salt breezes whisk our souls’ deep waters
into choppy peaks that trace the current
rhythms of faithful hearts. We explore the enveloping night
like ancient, fretful land-lost sailors fingering sextants,
divining star charts, seeking another promising world,
until our patience receives its reward.
Beyond a far strip of shore where the surge laps and laps
survives an altar where Abraham might have struck his relative sacrifice.
Tonight fresh flames flare there and soar, a precious new offering
accelerating through the dividing air. Then that fluid fire vanishes,
pursuing its own graceful geometry of arc and attitude,
while we stand still together there, gaping, grasping after
Larry Pike’s poetry and fiction has appeared in Aethlon: Journal of Sports Literature, The Louisville Review, Hospital Drive, Seminary Ridge Review, Caesura, Amethyst Review, and other publications. Horse Cave Theatre (Kentucky) produced his play Beating the Varsity in 2000, and it was published in World Premieres from Horse Cave Theatre (MotesBooks, 2009). In June 2017 he won the George Scarbrough Prize for Poetry.