Before they emerged from their capsule
they never imagined birdsong or the sound
of the ocean crashing upon the shore.

The jerk of recognition it induced
in the pit of their spacesuits;
so many harmonies courting each other

across the coldest of stratospheres. And even if
it later proved a simulation, designed to reduce
cortisol in the blood-stream of long-haul voyagers,

no-one could explain the salt on their lips,
the soft specks of sand on their lashes.

COMPAS Poetry Competition 2013
Second Place