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Joan E. Bauer: All But Lost

in the small print of NASA history

the story of my father: Harold E. Bauer,

known as Hal, technical director

of that workhorse, the Saturn IV-B.

He's quoted on domes, propulsion,

structural integrity, welding

of the bulkhead. He's not quoted

on misanthropic pigeons, cost overruns,

entertaining 'the brass' or how some rockets

blew to smithereens. His staff called him

'Dr. Bauer' though he only had four years

at LACC.  In an audio recording,

he says:  'Let me be specific.'

His slow, deliberate voice sounds tired.

Missing from the records, his decades

in the Mojave, at Kwajalein, Holloman

& Huntsville, then Bremen for the Space Lab.

Unrecorded: the drag weight of being

'no-margin-for-error' responsible.

The struggle to de-pressurize. He had

that other family. Complications.

He's buried somewhere in Orange County.

I don't know where. I do have

a beer mug kind of trophy:

Eagle Has Landed

First Manned Lunar Landing
July 20, 1969

Hal Bauer  A3 Mission Control

You can come over & see it anytime.


Copyright 2021 Joan E. Bauer. First published in Chiron Review.
Joan E. Bauer  is the author of two full-length poetry collections, The Almost Sound of Drowning (Main Street Rag, 2008) and The Camera Artist (Turning Point, 2021). For some years, she worked as a teacher and counselor and now divides her time between Venice, CA and Pittsburgh, PA where she co-hosts and curates the Hemingway’s Summer Poetry Series with Kristofer Collins.   

On July 20, 1969, American astronauts Neil Armstrong (1930-2012) and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin (1930-) became the first humans ever to land on the moon.

3 comments on “Joan E. Bauer: All But Lost

  1. jane hilary
    January 28, 2022

    Nothing more fascinating than this poet’s history so subtly explored, with volumes expressed in a single phrase or line.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Barbara Huntington
    January 26, 2022

    Since I lived near The Jet Propulsion lab of Caltech, many parents in our neighborhood were connected to it. I wonder what stories they never told.

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on January 26, 2022 by in Poetry and tagged , , , .

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