Invading Us Would Be a Waste of Time

A poem from Survival Kit #1, presented by the NGC Bocas Lit Fest

A poem by Thaís Espaillat
From the anthology The Sea Needs No Ornament/El Mar No Necesita Ornamento, edited and translated by Loretta Collins Klobah and Maria Grau Perejoan

Forthcoming in June 2020 from Peepal Tree Press

the sea needs no ornament




I don’t think that extraterrestrials
resemble my neighbours
or yours,
that they have a giant head,
purple skin,
eyes on the napes of their necks.

I’m sure they look more
like invisible jellyfish,
dust motes that float in the light,
oil stains.

And they don’t talk to us because we’re boring.

We continue
flying in circles
and parallelograms.
And they exist in the grooves of watches,
the veins of planets that escape from

Or maybe they know so much that they don’t even talk anymore,
and only die slowly and without feeling it
or feeling it so much,
in beds travelling between our satellites
and they show up in some photos
sticking out their thousand tongues at us,
with slobber that awakens a distant volcano.

I’m sure that extraterrestrials don’t write poetry,
nor do they make movies,
they don’t cook on television,
but I’m pretty sure they have internet
and they use Tor to spy on us.
That’s when they realize
that we’re not worth it,
and they leave us with our drugs
and our porn,
and they move away on their tentacles
or their things that don’t have a name yet,
trembling from how stupid
we have always been,
while they shut off the power strip,
and from this side everything becomes
the colour of a morgue,
a mass grave,
a boot sole.

Children look at the sky,
and they realize
that there are no more wishes.
Astronauts take off their helmets in
they didn’t arrive at NASA eating through
the ozone layer
to be miners.

The common people in supermarkets and
offices rolling around and typing
with chickpea cans and plastic plants
as their final landscape,
they cry on top of each other,
they ask for help,

And the extraterrestrials getting farther and farther away
and bigger
and smaller
and more alien in their forms,
their wings of fire,
their nitrogen teeth,
their parts that I don’t know how to assemble,
or breathing
or making their way
between the trash
and the frost,
smiling at the millions of hoggish babies
that dead stars have given birth to.


Translation of the poem “Invadirnos sería perder el tiempo” by Thaís Espaillat
Translated by Loretta Collins Klobah and Maria Grau Perejoan

Courtesy Peepal Tree Press

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