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Gift of the Ancestors

by Angela Acosta

Be still, let the universe breathe,

for on this day, she will be born,

a precious gift of the ancestors.

A product of migrations and millennia,

the ancestors’ blood coagulates,

forming newborn human flesh.

She puts her body on like a shirt,

shimmying lanky limbs into

gendered formations and cultural creations.

The peoples she came from were once

from countries and family trees,

rooted in the continents of Terra.

Mexican, they knew hot summers in haciendas

so her ship named in Nahuatl brings

ultraviolet light and warmth in every hallway.

Hydroponic plants and artificial maseca flour

replace bountiful harvests of old.

Now, zero gravity is her dinner table.

The rich, curing power of pozole,

now made with exoplanet legumes,

always lovingly stirred.

She refused to cut her braids

to fit into a regulation sized spacesuit

or meet calculated weight limits.

She needs a whole helmet

for the knowledge passed down

in hair spun from ancestral resilience.

Give her this gift of the ancestors,

a place to exist in this space bound world,

for she has waited eons.

Learning their customs,

she hugs her body tight,

for their love sent her to the stars.

Angela Acosta is a bilingual Latina poet and scholar from Florida with a passion for the distant future and possible now. She won the 2015 Rhina P. Espaillat Award from West Chester University for her Spanish poem “El espejo.” Her science fiction poetry has or will appear in in On Spec, Penumbric, MacroMicroCosm, Radon, and Eye to the Telescope. She is currently completing her Ph.D. in Iberian Studies at The Ohio State University and resides in Columbus, Ohio.

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