How We Got to the Stars by David Seth Smith



first we built
that damned carousel
monumental job
battalions of engineers
sent it piece by piece to
Proxima Centauri b
assembled by robots
in orbit
cobbled together on the
surface by yet more
of our mechanical brethren 
and as they final-fit-and-finish it
with the brass ring
and plaque in our honor
after an eon of
coldsleep we’ll all stand
tickets in hand
on a rock that on
its very best day
is as habitable
as Schenectady
in mid-winter
with exactly the same
slim chance any
of us ever has
of making a good grab
at that ring
what with the
thick gloves
limited peripheral vision
and the doubts
stacks of boxes of them
that the robots unpack daily
shaped like horses
that stare open-mouthed
from either side
the calliope is next
so as we see the star
framed by the ring
with each
missed pass 
we can still demand 
our ambient music

© David S Smith 2020

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