Centaurian Quixote and What Makes A (Post) Human

Angela Acosta

Angela Acosta (she/her) is a bilingual Latina poet and Visiting Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies at Davidson College.
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).

Centaurian Quixote

Tipping at satellites,
he speaks confused Spanish
at station bars orbiting Alpha Centauri.
His noble android Sancho Panza
spits binary code at the rockets
he still calls burros.

Armed with old star charts,
Don Quixote insists on venturing past the ecliptic.
Above, he says, are stars beyond our grasp
and rewards better than Castilian gold.
There, he aims his ship towards Dulcinea,
beautifully gleaming in the heavens.

He charts his course fifty lightyears wide,
spurred on by a voracious appetite of dehydrated
hams and bartered Manchego cheese.
Dulcinea twinkles at the Quixote’s rusted spacesuit    
before he’s thrown off the galactic arm,
surviving in a travelogue picked up near Barnard’s Star.

What Makes a (Post) Human

How much can you remove
and still be human?

Surgeons can transplant and excise
organs and tissue, for our own benefit,
reanimating what once belonged to another.

Yet, they speak only of anthropos and bios,
not of zoe, the structure of all life.

Their handiwork cannot sew the lattices
of fractals spiralling from spider webs,
tenuously built in rooftop cornices,
dripping with globular dew upon each new day.

A soul never thought much
of the detritus within which it lives,
constantly shedding skin,
an itch of sentience crawling within hinged joints.

Trillions of microorganisms march to beating hearts,
sustaining that which knows not of their existence.

Zoe melds organic and inorganic,
a rhapsody of all each planet can stir up
from the primordial ether of life.

Europa’s oceans swell in possibility,
sentient spacecrafts buzz around asteroid hives,
and mammals hibernate as is their wont.

Beauty is enmeshed in our culpability;
over eager surgeons prune and terraform,
rending ballads of biodiversity and yet we call ourselves (post) human.