454: On a Spaceship Somewhere, Long After Empire's Collapse

454: On a Spaceship Somewhere, Long After Empire's Collapse

454: On a Spaceship Somewhere, Long After Empire's Collapse

This week, we're featuring poems related to outer space. Stars. Planets. Even aliens. What can we discover about ourselves, when we consider the cosmos?


On a Spaceship Somewhere, Long After Empire’s Collapse 
by Jesús I. Valles

Somehow, even in this future, amidst motherboards and cast-aside MREs, 
Every Cool-Whip and Country Crock tub is still deceitful, more mystery than promise,
Housing nothing like its original cargo but instead salsa and the week’s beans.

Even with the stars close enough to kiss, the swerve heat of celestial bodies pegadito, 
Every Danish Butter cookie tin is still stocked with the seamstress’ tools,
Her threads, thimbles, and every needle that ever kept our miseries mended. 

And right above the cold steel of the bolted doors, the same thing as always;
A horseshoe wrapped in red ribbon, a wreath of garlic, a picture of San Judas,
And that gilded rendition of the last supper she ordered from Home Interiors’ catalogue.

We are inside a Leviathan, waltzing with every lover moon Juipter’s neglected,
And earth is a distant story we are told before bed, right before she blesses us,
And every morning still smells like huevos con chorizo and the Avon spray she loves most.

Once, on earth, someone told my Tía Came, “Go back to your country!,” which she took to mean,
“Go home!” and if the sky is the thing that follows us everywhere, she thought, if the vast black
Blue saw me born, then the sky is my home, and every star is every place I’ve come from.

Long after the empire was no more, it was all the aunties who led every expedition.
Just like on earth, it was all of the tías who looked at an unknown and threw their heads back,
Cackling as they soared into the sky, showing the children, all of us, where exactly we belonged. 

"On a Spaceship Somewhere, Long After Empire's Collapse" by Jesús I. Valles. Used by permission of the poet.