Spaceport Ethnography by Angela Acosta

It was the gentle whirring of the terminal, the rush of flurried rockets coupling to docking
bays that lulled me into a restful sleep. Warm-blooded space faring peoples keep the temperature comfortable, perfect for an hour in a nap pod to wash down this layover with natural sleep before chemicals drown out the fifty-light-year voyage. I stir as the vacation sim ads emblazoning the walls chime obnoxious tunes for weary travelers, and frequent flyers shuffle towards their destinations. In training they said that this would become mundane. I would, in time, become accustomed to nanobots, intravenous impulses, and the toys of the twenty-fifth century. What they should have told me before hopping three centuries was that boredom is universal after enough sleepless nights. I’ve seen enough teary goodbyes for two lifetimes and heard enough groans when shuttles are delayed. Before boarding, I see Agent Lambda still as bleary-eyed as before and I know it has hit him too. Maybe next stop we’ll catch the latest holo vid and settle into the time for a change. Until then, I write these notes for the ancestors still scared of losing our humanity to spaceflight, not realizing that they are the ones weaving a web between our FTL lives, a true gift of the ancestors sent upstream.

This work was previously published in Green Splotches 2022.

This poem appears in Acosta’s speculative poetry chapbook A Belief in Cosmic Dailiness: Poems of a Fabled Universe published with Red Ogre Review.

About the Author

Angela Acosta (she/her) is a bilingual Latina poet who holds a Ph.D. in Iberian Studies from The Ohio State University. She is a Rhysling finalist with speculative poems in Shoreline of Infinity, Apparition Lit, Radon Journal, and Space & Time. She is author of the Elgin nominated speculative poetry collection Summoning Space Travelers (Hiraeth Publishing, 2022) and forthcoming chapbook Fourth Generation Chicana Unicorn (Dancing Girl Press, 2023).
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