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Heavenly Fathers
by Mary Langer Thompson

For Lyn Glenn, daughter of astronaut, John Glenn

Thirty-six years ago
the sun's rays,
forming a trinity of light,
beamed through the stained-glass windows
of Mary and Jesus
upon my father, now ninety-seven, and me,
and, across our church aisle,
your father, John Glenn,
newly returned from Friendship 7.

When he told you he wanted
to become the oldest man in space,
you said,"You're kidding."
Yet you were at his side
before he entered Discovery
for his second blastoff at seventy-seven
to prepare the way for others.

My father wants to reach at least one hundred.
He isn't kidding.
He, too, was a pioneer,
venturing from Dresden
to splash down on the shores
of Ellis Island
when your dad
was just being born.

Both are men of faith
who taught us how to face
the unknown.
We will be there
when they take that final flight
into the infinite blackness of space,
as fearful,
yet as hopeful,
as Mary at the Cross.

Electric Rain, published by Archer Books (2000)  

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