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The Astronaut’s Box of Stars-Shaped Buttons - not just a poem

The Astronaut’s Box of Stars-Shaped Buttons poem by Carmen A. Cisnadean

They said, “you have no mama” And I went to my box Of stars-shaped buttons To pray for a mother. They said, “you have no dada” And I went to my box Of stars-shaped buttons To pray for a father. Nobody seemed to come Wanderlust pounding within, I thought If I only could be with the stars So I gazed at my stars-shaped buttons Seeing the trivial dawn on me Until I met her, the one with words as elixir, Who flew my soul to the stars And life turned to the page of self-love, There ain’t nothing fatuous About my box of stars-shaped buttons And the one thanks to whom I could gaze at the starlight inside.

They once vilified me, “nobody’s gonna love ya”

And I went to my stars-garbed sky

To thank the heavens

For stars that don’t live in boxes.

They once badgered me, “you’re a nobody”

And I went to tell them

That I turned astronaut

Thanks to a voice that was medicine

For a man who was once an orphan

And no, she was not my mother,

She was my angel, in my case, even better.

@Copyright 2021 Carmen A. Cisnadean

My poem “The Astronaut’s Box of Stars-Shaped Buttons” which will be someday part of my “A Poetess’ First Flight” sequel, was written as a reflection of a study on child development. The poem is about an orphan boy who overcomes obstacles and accomplishes great things despite any and all prejudice because of the influence a woman’s words had on his life. The power of a boy who decided to not listen to negative words but rather lean on the powerful words of a woman whose voice turns into healing for him. The boy goes on to become a successful astronaut by studying hard, believing in self, and protecting himself from the harm caused by the verbal abuse from those who turned him down rather than lift him up. The boy turns to the poetess' words who encourage him to turn his star-shaped buttons consolation to the study of constellation and the love of stars. From my study on child abuse, as part of my week's school assignment: "Child abuse is extremely damaging to a child’s physical, emotional and, overall, developmental well-being regardless of the form of abuse be it neglect, physical abuse, psychological maltreatment, or sexual abuse. Each of these forms of abuse will lead to stress in a child’s life. Those children who experience toxic stress, meaning extremely stressful situations of abuse over long periods of time, can suffer long-lasting emotional, physical, and psychological damage. For instance, stress can have direct impact on the brain of a child, such as on a child’s memory when the stress hormone cortisol reduces the size of the hippocampus in the midbrain. Aside from reducing immunity to disease, resilience to stressful situations in the future, there are many other concerns to consider. (Rio Solado College PSY240, Child Abuse and Social Development section) In a study on facial displays of emotion, using two types of parenting involving physical abuse and physical neglect, "physical abuse included bruises, abrasions, or welts to the child’s body, excessive physical punishment, burns or lacerations, disfiguring or life-threatening injuries, and severe injuries requiring hospital treatment. Examples of physical neglect included failure to ensure medical care or follow through on medical recommendations, reports of children being very hungry and missing meals frequently, a child’s living environment being condemned as unfit for habitation, and young children being left unsupervised for several hours in potentially life-threatening situations." (American Psychological Association, 2000, Footnotes section). In addition, the study proclaims that "For the physically abused child, displays of anger may be the strongest predictor of threat; however, increased sensitivity to anger could result in decreased attention to other emotional cues. The neglected child, in contrast, may suffer from an extremely limited emotional learning environment." (American Psychological Association, 2000, para. 3). Clearly, both abused children and neglected children deal with a series of psychological stressors which could in turn impact their physical, mental, and emotional well-being as well. In a child welfare study in Illinois, in the Journal of Family Violence, patterns of trauma exposure indicated that child trauma has a wide ranging and complex structural, behavioral, and cognitive effects on brain development. Furthermore, "studies have shown that exposure to complex, interpersonal trauma is linked to a greater number and severity of functional and mental health problems both in child welfare and in other service settings." (Journal of Family Violence, 2014, para. 3) In conclusion, as I mention on the YouTube video I created entitled "From Child to Adulthood," with parenting and/or child-caretaking comes great responsibility and power that cannot be taken for granted. (Kraela, 2021)"


To my professor Scott Reed, your insight and feedback, your praise of my work, has been one of the best experiences of my life. Thank you for being absolutely awesome.

To my friend Jonathan Solomon, than you for letting me borrow your star-garbed sky photograph. Like I said before, I encourage you to continue on your journey with shooting the stars. I think it will take you to great destinations. Many thanks. To Alicia Keys, thank you for this song. It is such a truth-based and love-centered song. If you wish to listen to the song that accompanied me as I wrote my poem "The Astronaut’s Box of Stars-Shaped Buttons," click below.


Kraela (2021, March). From Child to Adulthood. [Video]. Carmen A. C. Channel. YouTube.

Rio Salado College PSY240 (2019). Developmental Psychology. Module 6.4. Parenting Styles.

American Psychological Association (2000). Developmental Psychology, Vol. 36. (5), pp. 679-688. Recognizing emotion in faces: Developmental effects of child abuse and neglect.

Kisiel, L, Cassandra, Fehrenbach, Tracy, Torgersen, Elizabeth, Stolbach, Brad, McClelland, Gary, Griffin, Gene, & Burkman, Kristine (2014). Journal of Family Violence, Vol. 29. Constellations of Interpersonal Trauma and Symptoms in Child Welfare: Implications for a Developmental Trauma Framework.


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