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This poem is taken from PN Review 189, Volume 36 Number 1, September - October 2009.

Five Poems Simon Armitage

The English Astronaut

He splashed down in rough seas off Spurn Point.
I watched through a coin-op telescope
jammed with a lollipop stick as a trawler fished him out of the waves
and ferried him back to Mission Control on a trading estate
near the Humber Bridge. He spoke with a mild voice:
yes, it was good to be home; he’d missed his wife, the kids,
couldn’t wait for a shave and a hot bath.
‘Are there any more questions?’ No, there were not.

I followed him in his Honda Accord to a Little Chef on the A1,
took the table opposite, watched him order the all-day breakfast
and a pot of tea. ‘You need to go outside to do that,’
said the waitress when he lit a cigarette.
He read the paper, started the crossword,
poked at the black pudding with his fork.
Then he stared through the window for long unbroken minutes at a time,
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