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All poets wanted to be astronauts first

but the world was too real

and the universe too gaseous

to pierce it with their misery


All poets wanted to have telescopes

that would reveal fantasy is something

that feels its way through the void

All poets pointed to the stars

and named the constellations

in places that don’t exist

All poets wanted to travel at the speed of light

hide in the Orion Nebula

get swallowed by black holes

and declare that God isn’t an old man in heaven

because heaven is a silly version

of the vastness of the universe

of immensity

and of eternity


All poets wanted to count down

and take off to the vast unknown

The unknown took them off

and now they write brief letters to their beloved fantasy

to their astral travels


The black holes did swallow them

but their bodies show the contrary


The bodies stayed inhabiting this earth

this life

these cities

these paths of reality

the black holes sucked them

and left them in return

minds that yearn for a return to nothing

Yes, they are hidden in the nebula

the one of Orion

the one of dreams

the one of dawns

the nebula that gives off its own body


They use poems, yes, they use them

They name the world, yes, they name it


They count down

and what comes up are letters

and small pieces that emerge from the days

those snippets may well be

breadcrumbs that signal the return

the longed-for return.


Born in Quetzaltenango, Carmen Lucía Alvarado is a poet and editor, currently based in Guatemala City. She is the author of the poetry collections Imagen y semejanza (2010), Poetas astronautas (2012), and Edad geológica del miedo (2018). She is currently working on her fourth collection Pangea Muerte. Her poems in English translation have appeared in Abyss & Apex and Star*Line.