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Please Get On the Ship

If we don’t press our faces

through this towering cold door

they’ll leave orbit without us,

without our tongue, without

even the history of our skin.

The metallic mirror of the ship

is designed to draw in our eyes,

tempts you to see you

before stepping aboard.

“Are you clean?” They’ll ask,

“Are you educated? Before we fly,

start a new world, repopulate

a healthy planet, do you understand?

A motherland who’s never harmed

her body with chemical moments of

desperation. Whose flesh is unpolluted.

Will you walk on her, will your kind

walk on her? Your people on Earth

have high percentages of incarceration,

teenage pregnancy, high school

dropouts. Do you want to lower

our figures on Mars? Consider

the potential,” they’ll say, “of

a pure second chance.

We are not so much biased

as optimistic. We can do better.

This time our children will roam

in the valleys and dunes,

the caverns of red innocence.

Please, before you step aboard

can you promise no violence

following your kind like shadows?”

They’ll ask us this. Your people too

will need to validate their right

to continue breathing, to continue

the struggle and dream of breathing.

Please, get on the ship, my people.

Let them see our children play

with theirs. Red sands will blow

in their hair and nothing will be

closer to proof of our strengths

than demanding

to exist.

Angel Leal is a Mexican, trans/non-binary poet from Texas. Their work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, the Rhysling Award, and has previously appeared in venues such as Strange Horizons, Fantasy Magazine, Anathema: Spec from the Margins, and the Club Q Benefit Anthology “We Apologize For The Inconvenience” published by Beyond The Veil Press. You can find them at or floating around Twitter @orbiting_angel.

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