The first time Lilly went to space it was an accident. She had been, like so many people are, in the wrong place at the wrong time and just like that, with a countdown and three rocket stages, she was in space.
The second time Lilly went to space it was against the rules. She’d understood a problem in a way that nobody else had, and, like so many people, she had to go against stated NASA protocol and stowaway aboard a rocket to save the lives of seventeen astronauts.
The third time Lilly went to space, it was happily. She’d planned the trip, designed and machined the engines herself, because like so many people she missed the inky void and weightlessness of the vacuum.
The fourth time, she was the first woman to ride a horse in space. The fifth, she had to perform an appendectomy on an astronaut who could not be returned to earth. The sixth, she went because she was bored, and the eighth because she could.
The ninth time Lilly went to space, space came to her, in a ship of its own, in an accident of its own, and Lilly, when she got back on the ground thought that she was done with space for good. So she stopped her count at nine, and retired to look upwards without wanderlust.
Written on February 4th at the Memorial Art Gallery during the Valentine #Schmalentine event for a woman who was expecting a little girl.