Building a Spaceship in the Backyard


It is a Sunday afternoon.
12 minutes to launch.

The tiny astronaut
saunters into the space-station living room
and takes the spacesuit hanging
in her poodle’s mouth.

She straps into a ship made of cardboard,
duct tape (“Duck” brand, of course),
18 rolls of aluminum foil,
and way more glitter than NASA would approve of,
and consults her checklist:

Round astronaut helmet thing?
Walkie-Talkie to mission control?
Little red button that buzzes if you touch it?
Rocket Fuel (secretly an ample supply of soda and mentos,
raided from the grocery aisle)?



Mom! I don’t need a snack;
I’m about to go explore the galaxy.

“Honey, you might get hungry.”

Mom, I can’t let peanut butter
drip all over the keyboard;
It IS rocket science, after all.
And what if there are aliens out there
who are allergic to peanuts?
I don’t want to wipe out an entire species
just because I’m hungry.
That’s called genocide.

Besides, I don’t even know how a sandwich will behave
in zero gravity; I didn’t do the calculations!
And a plastic sandwich bag weighs to much
to take on board–the ship would never make it
out of the planet’s orbit!

She’s hysterical and ready to abort,
terrified her mission will fail.
Quietly, her mother presses that red button
that’s never meant to be touched
and releases a rush of mentos
into uncountable coke bottles.

And all of a sudden,
the little astronaut is flying.
And making quite a mess besides.
With a wild, crazy look in her eye,
armed with a dripping sandwich
and battery-powered walkie-talkie,
She’s ready to take on Infinity

and beyond.

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