I wrote this poem in 1986. As far as I recall, it's the only thing I've written on the subject.
When the shuttle blew up—
ending with a question. Oh no, not
These are for music school administrators and health
food customers who recalled Cincinnati fireworks on the
Ohio: the green splatter, like bullets and grass, over
the skyline, the gasps from the children, the pause
of “Is this how black the city night really is?”
And they said (after turning parrot-like
“Boy, that’s really terrible.”
They have new grand-kid stories. The
six-year olds, like baby eagles, will crane up with
“How?” and “Why?”
Watch the worms drop down.
Then, the day after history, I’m
watching the hundred blackbirds hover to tree, to tree.
My back leans toward Earth, I’m suddenly in Challenger,
a red light flashes, metal burns around me, and I
think (panicked), just before dying, “What--?”