Final Departure

hurtling heavenward
armrests clung tight
g-force pins bodies
propulsion burns bright

ignorant Houston
oblivious crew
awestruck observers
all wait for stage two

water had frozen
ring breach failure
exploding disaster
numb, silence, vapor


This is my response to Trifextra: Week Seventy-Seven where I was given the three words below and asked to give back thirty of my own, making a grand total of thirty-three words.


Admittedly, I’m not normally poetic (by any stretch of the imagination, nor by education), but was inspired to make my earlier work in progress into the poem above…

The astronauts hurtled heavenward with armrests gripped and g-force imprisoned bodies.  The crew-members eagerly anticipated stage two.  Oblivious to Houston, Challenger, and observers alike, a ring had failed.  The Challenger disaster was imminent.

Thanks for reading.  Your comments are encouraged!

Trifextra: Week Seventy-Seven
Trifextra: Week Seventy-Seven

22 thoughts on “Final Departure

  1. That’s exactly how it was, too! I saw it happen on television, and I remember the spectators cheering, and then cheers turning to screams and cries. This was an awesome 33 words!

    1. I remember watching the launch on television in Jr. high school. My teachers had heightened interest and enthusiasm for the mission because an educator, Christa McAuliffe, was part of the crew. Watching it all unfold certainly left my classmates and me stunned in disbelief, and eventually despair. It was like a little piece of our naive innocence was lost that day.

  2. This gave me chills. I remember watching it in 7th grade English class at school. It was fascinating, awe-inspiring…that wasn’t supposed to happen. We were silent in those awful moments before the teacher turned the TV off. The class had never been so quiet.

    1. I’m delighted you enjoyed it. For me, leisure writing is new(er) and I consider it a privilege to participate amidst the talented people in Trifecta. Thank you for your reply.

  3. The overwhelming finality of that moment never left me. I didn’t see the disaster until the evening but had been driving and listening to the launch on the radio. You’ve captured that very small window of time, very well. The last line is particularly moving and powerful.

    1. Thanks very much for your encouraging words. I relate to that same overwhelming finality you mention. Always great to hear from you.

  4. A moment forever etched in my memory. I can still feel it, I can still see me and my co-workers huddled around the TV’s in the appliance aisle at my dad’s hardware store.

  5. This threw my backwards in time. Perfectly captured.
    So vividly remember sitting in elementary home room,wearing a light blue dress..everything Mrs. Lancaster turned on tele.
    Thinking i was about to see cartoons…she said..everything will be okay, they are all okay. My face burned with tears. jack was bored and he said so.
    I believe this was the first (tragic)memory I have of a lie.

    -from a little girl who to this day lives in Houston…RIP brave souls.
    Thank you for these 33. My words are imperfect…but you captured a moment perfectly.

    1. Thanks very much for your words. Imperfect or otherwise, I think they’re great. Although the topic is somber, I consider it a privilege to hear about things from that day in Mrs. Lancaster’s home room. I’m slow to realize that every moment is precious, event the tragic ones.

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