Mae Jemison Counts
Down Aboard the 1992 Endeavor Shuttle
My blood pumps itself to a distant planet.
My brain is a supernova. My skin is a million stars.
The orange straps across my suit are bright as a fire.
I’m thinking of Grandmother, the swish, swish, swish
of her broom on that
porch, the hot grits
bubbling on the stove, the smell of biscuits and bacon.
On an autumn evening, we’d slowly launch ourselves
in the swing, our feet rising across the pumpkin moon.
The year of my birth, 1956,
Alabama still called segregation
separate but equal. My school teacher mama wanted more.
Her and daddy moved us to blue
to spirit, to hope, to zeal, to inspiration.
dreams never imagined 127 orbits
of the Earth.
Mission control is counting slowly down
and this Endeavor will shoot me into history
like a blazing star. What new horizons will I find
in a thousands years of blackness. The earth
and all its heavy history fall. I float, an impossible
dream, a black woman in a white NASA Suit,
child with the whole world in her hands.
#blackhistorymonth #ya #youngadult #middlegrades #teaching #maejemsion #poem #poetry
I recently performed this poem for the students, teachers, and parents at the Poetry Out Loud Regional Competition in Spartanburg, SC at Spartanburg Community College. Sponsored by Hub City.
*Mae Jemison was not interviewed in regards to this poem, so the details of what she may have been thinking about while she waited to launch into space are wholly from my imagination.