Space Race by Warren Woessner

When John and I tried to make rocket fuel

in my basement lab, we ground up

sodium chlorate and sugar,

and it blew up. Pieces

of the glass mortar and pestle

scattered across the bench.

Then Pat Plunket cut an artery in his arm

after he tried to make a jet car

by packing magnesium powder

into a CO2 cartridge and

Chip Lynch lost two fingers

trying to launch an empty rifle shell

packed with match heads

out of his bedroom window.

When our parents cut off our supply

of chemicals from the drug store,

we were trapped on Chestnut Drive—

sullen, until one summer night

when we lay on our backs

in the warm grass in the backyard

and watched Sputnik tumble

across the night sky like it was our moon,

like we had helped, somehow, to make it.


Warren Woessner co-founded Abraxas Press and WORT-FM in Madison WI. Six collections of his poetry have been published, including Exit ~ Sky (Holy cow! Press) and 'Clear All the Rest of the Way (Backwaters Press/U. of Nebraska Press). He has received fellowships in poetry from the NEA, The McKnight Foundation and the Wisconsin Arts Board. He lives in Minneapolis and works as a biotech patent attorney.


Recent Posts

See All