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There is water
on Europa.

Mercy is a blemish
to currency.
Ambition shuttles
upward
like a rocket
detaching the unnecessary
trash in orbit.

A dog named Laika,
black and white fur,
made friends
with scientists. White lab
coats and scritches behind ears.
We used to steal
animals off the streets
and let them believe they were loved.
Laika, orphan, shot
into space, no return plans,
trash into orbit.

Now, we volunteer
to go up
and to never return,
or so they say.

I used to trace
constellations.
There are none
in this black void,
just balls of light,
there and then not.

I think the problem
with humanity
is we are halved.
Theia, Euryphaessa,
the divine wide-shining,
spun into our proto-Earth,
cratered, split
in twain and so became
the Earth and its Moon,
Narcissus orbiting around
his own fracture point.

Stars born
unfathomable light-years
away from us.
I see them in the unblemished hands
of curious children,
all wide-eye wonder
and wide-shining dreams,
cradling sea-sparkle:
dinoflagellates, like microscopic jellyfish,
not plant nor animal,
unicellular,
but still alive,
gloriously alive
and blue-green vibrant.

I know what will happen.
My supply is limited
by the confines
of lab-coat-white walls
and the memory
of that damn dog
and of a man that wants
to colonize entire planets.
I’ve always been told
I’m waste: I take
up too much space, too much air.
Now, I have all of one
and none of the other,
but I’m not stuck in orbit,
I’m so beyond that.

There is water
on Europa
and I am so thirsty.

When the scientists
first approached us,
the ramshackle, diasporic
groups of homeless,
all the unwanted clumped
in waves of backpacks and barrel fires,
they told us to dream
big. Crazy Mike,
with his scruffy beard
and shopping cart
full of soft things
and car magazines,
who was always yelling
about government satellites
hidden in his ears, and who always gave
snack bars to his fellow hungry
or just to anyone
willing to listen
to his fears,
he told them he wanted
to help people like him.
So they cratered his head, split
him open. I know
neurons can implode
just like neutron stars,
into something that steals
your rebellion: sinkhole
gravity. I imploded
when they asked for my dreams
and I told them I wanted
the stars. They measured
my air, said
This is invaluable,
a test to see
how a real human would survive.
I’d make it possible
for that guy.

I used to have a dog.
“Lucky,” I named her,
because I was so damned
lucky to have her.
She’d lay on my chest,
all 73 pounds of her,
and I wouldn’t want to cry
anymore. I want her,
to hold her, to love her,
to not be alone, to have
my only friend by my side
at my end. But I don’t wear white
and I’m lucky,
so damned lucky,
that she’s not here,
suffocating,
with me.

I check one of my jars of algae,
blue glows brighter than the dim,
dying overhead lights.
The one thing I requested
to take with me.
I always thought
the stars looked better in the water.

I passed
a red scar of a planet
months ago. Mars,
the lab coats said,
before my radio transmissions
were cut off.

There is water
on Europa
and Jupiter
grows closer.

I’m to land
on Jupiter.
Crushing gravity, scorching
heat, a lab coat had listed
off. You’ll die, of course.
Of course, of course.
But ensure you land here–
it had pointed, and I had stopped
listening. Something, something,
establishing a baseline for blah,
blah, irrelevant.

I alter my course.

I was allowed
to float outside.
A treat, for being so helpful.
I couldn’t use it often,
it depleted the air supply,
and now I’m locked inside.
I’d put on my suit,
depressurize, leap
outside, grab the bar
on the outer wall, then kick
off, connected by a cord
umbilical, reverse-
birth, undeath.
I’m in my seat, steering down,
eyes closed, remembering.

I clutch one of the jars
of blue-green algae.

There is water
on Europa.
When I crash
into that water
and sink,
black-hole-like,
into its subsurface
and my windows break
beneath the strain
and the ship is filled,
I hope my algae is freed.

There is water
on Europa.
Millions of billions of years
from now, unblemished
hands will cradle
the glow, filled with wide-shining
wonder.



Jace DeAngelo is a 21-year-old, queer, disabled writer and editor. They graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in editing and publishing. They primarily write poetry, creative nonfiction, and speculative fiction. They recently published a short story called “Undergrowth” as their debut. https://linktr.ee/jacedeangelo
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