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Waiting

Cool, crisp morning surrounds me.
Fresh brewed coffee smells so good.
My hands cup the warm pottery, feel the texture.
My sweat pants, socks, and slippers with the rubber soles,
My sweat shirt and knit cardigan, all
Keep the moist, cool air at bay.
The sun’s behind me, behind the house.

I step across the wood porch, descend the stairs,
and step into the sun for a little more warmth.
Great, low, wispy bundles of clouds are
Traveling fast towards the sun.
The blue disappears completely above
A white, tumultuous earth cover, then
Appears again left then right then overhead.

I scan the blue—not knowing how high,
Or where, or what shape to look for.
No matter, the game is in the search.
I keep looking up, breathing in the air and
The silence—the start of a weekend.
Ah: sipping coffee, not wanting to leave
To refill my cup. Not wanting to miss it.

photo of the space shuttle

uncredited untitled drawing

Six minutes,” Joe calls out.
Okay. Six minutes.
How long can six minutes be?
Watching the sky, watching the clouds,
Hearing the cars in the distance,
Wondering how the dogs will react
To the sound; hoping I won’t fall over
If I’m startled while
Craning backwards, looking up.

I walk to the end of the porch.
More sky. Would it be north or south
Or right over head. Don’t worry.
Just look. Just breath in the cool,
Fresh, moisture-laden air.
Just smile to be here, to be alive,
To have the time to experience this moment
Without the need to rush back in,
Or to give up the search
Because something else needs doing…


Too long.
Even with no TV, no watch
To mark the time, this is too long.
Must have gone on.
Must have taken a higher, different route.
Go in. Check the time.
Check the TV.
Fill my coffee cup.

“Oh, Columbia!
She is lost!”

Tumbling, tearing, burning,
Disintegrating, searing—
While I was waiting
You all died.
My vigil a eulogy
Marking your transformation
To the eternal.

That I shared those last moments
With you, no matter how unknowingly,
I will not forget.
That I was exalting in life
While you were dying:
I will treasure the lesson forever.

--Kristine Switt