Third Place: "five reasons why i could never be an astronaut" by Hannah G. Bentley


five reasons why i could never be an astronaut

i. the testing. the human
centrifuge. there would be claustrophobia
and i would be done for,
             nearly dead, shaking. have you heard that
people have died on the disney ride that
simulates it?     afterwards,
i would be too
afraid to go out, anyway.

ii. the food. i would eat it
but i would not love it, not
like it, even;
             i would be ungrateful
and hungry, angry       at myself
for being hungry, for being

iii. the insides of it. there would be light
but no sun, no vitamin-d; i would not be able to
             run outside, in the
open air by the grass
and the train tracks. it would be
different,           too different;
i would be too close to the sun to
see it, too close to the stars to
             think them beautiful.

iv. the height of the sky. space is
and i am afraid of it, afraid of
falling into       everything.

v. the people. i would be with them twenty-four
seven, like family, except there would be
             no escape; i would stop breathing; i would be
inside a cage, no air, no gravity
for miles, for    years;
and what if i
don’t like it, like them? then
tension, the pumping of
would hang in the air, suspended,
dark; it would stain clothes and
and i would fall
             with the ship
straight down into        everything
             farther from the sun and the stars than
ever before.