“Europa” by Echo Wren

Echo Wren


He was the first astronaut they sent
into space without arms and legs,
and not only that but blind as well,
which wasn’t an issue, thanks
to cameras installed on his helmet,
sending home images he would never see,
to a family he no longer had.

It was timeless in there,
in his suit that was just an oval pod—
no baseball games, no soccer scores,
no watching his parents turn into milestones,
no seeing how beautiful we all used to be
on Throwback Thursdays, before he was born.
No feeling fingers upon his face
and thinking, This is a hand, this feeling
is a hand, what is a hand?
This is a hand.
And now the cold of the universe
touches his cheek as he drifts
farther and farther to where
we cannot touch him.

And they say man can live on Europa,
because it has water. They say
civilization can still exist,
because a mind is there to imagine it,
even without an arm to pick up the stone,
or an eye to see where it should land.

from Rattle #59, Spring 2018
Tribute to Immigrant Poets


Echo Wren: “I escaped Vietnam with my mother as a small child. I have no memories of my homeland, but somehow I recognize the soil, the sounds and smells. This language of impressions, preceding my capacity to understand, still forms the foundation of my being. I love poetry because it captures things half-remembered and lost. I write poetry because I am looking for home.”

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