Death of an Astronaut

By | 1 February 2020
Where lies Enos (Hebrew for Man)?

                        Not mouldering beside
            the deboned body-glove of
            HAM’s formless flesh

            underneath a New 
            Mexico museum’s 
            carpark flagpole

                        nor laid out 
            in the airforce 
            pathology lab’s 
            specimen drawers

            that house the same’s beetle-
            scrubbed bones.

When half-hearted dissectors
            were done with Enos
            first chimpanzee 
            to gain true orbit

            after two 

            their flayed pilot 
            in flame
                        not on thrilling 
            re-entry but in a 
            medical incinerator.

Nothing of him remains.
                        No brass plaque 
            or ash-scattered 
            park claims 
            space for Enos
                         (Hebrew for Man).

Chimpanzee HAM was the first primate to cross the threshold of space during a sub-orbital NASA launch in 1961.
Enos followed in the same year, becoming the first chimp to achieve Earth-orbit.


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