Geraldyn Cobb, 1931-2019


If she’d been a man.

Maybe if she’d been born a generation

later.  Certainly if she’d been measured

by her skill as a pilot, her death

would have raced the wind

and news wires in March and not

waited unreported and unnoted

until April, as if a pilot’s license

at 16 and commercial pilot’s license

at 20 weren’t enough, as if 7,000 hours

of flight time by age 28 weren’t enough

and as if passing the same medical tests

as the Mercury men wasn’t enough

to be an astronaut.


I see Jerrie Cobb flying solo, flying humanitarian

missions into the Amazon, charting new air routes

across the Andes while the dream of spaceflight

never left her bones.

I see her dancing on the wing of her Aero Commander

in the moonlight denied her

on the night men walked on the moon.


Put Jerrie Cobb among the space pioneers.

Let’s place her memory in a Mercury capsule, light

the Atlas engines, give her the ride at last, see her

threading the keyhole into orbit . . .

weightless . . . and the view . . .

Oh, the view . . .


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