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 . . .