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Sputnik

By John I. Blair

December 1957.
America was at peace;
America was at war.
I was in my middle teens,
Oblivious.

We were downtown
Walking to the Orpheum
To see Bridge On the River Kwai.

In a parking lot
Where an 1880s mansion
Had been razed, its lilacs
Paved for our convenience,
We glanced up at the sky
With idle curiosity
And saw a tiny moving light
Traverse the inky night.

We all knew what it was
But had not begun to think
How soon our lives would change,
Forever.

In one year NASA was established.
In two years I was learning Russian.
Seven gave us TELSTAR
And the Tokyo Olympics.
Twelve had Armstrong walking on the moon.

And of that night I can remember
These things only:
The moving light
And the bridge across the Kwai collapsing.

2006 John I. Blair

NOTE: "Sputnik" was first published by Arlington, Texas Public Library Online and was first place winner, adult category, in their 2006 poetry contest. The theme that year was space exploration.


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