Embrace Me

A poem about returning to Earth.

The Expedition 30 crew comes home to Kazakhstan last month.

A poem written after my Soyuz TMA-1 landing in 2003.

Oh Mother Earth, embrace me
     with all of your weight.
I am pressed into your bosom
     and like Atlas, I carry the World’s load.
I leave the comforts of an orbital womb
     and am born a second time.
Rudely thrust into the world of weight,
     my chest sinks from heavy load
     my arms do not move at my command
     and my head spins.
But there is work to do, we must keep our wits.
We want to survive this test to prove our
worthiness for life on Earth.
And finally, our just reward,
     the sweet smell of freshly tilled earth
     and of crushed spring grass.
The Sparrow’s song greets our ears.
Did we perish and land on Heaven’s door?
I spew bile and mucus into desert soil,
     a reminder that I am still among the living.
Oh Mother Earth, I have returned
     Embrace me!