Poetry Sunday: “on issues of aliens, immigration and cosmology,” by Devorah Major


on issues of aliens, immigration and cosmology



truth be told we are
all aliens now
traveling in outer space
on our rocky, blue sea planet

only a few of us stayed nestled
in the belly of our ancestors’ birthing
on the lips of our mother’s womb

all of the rest of us have traveled
to here where our heads now sleep
where our children grow and flourish
or wither and perish

but once we all were natives

long before the ones whose names
we have forgotten began their trek
we all were natives

long before the ones who stayed
stopped telling stories
of we who had left

eons ago we had no questions
about who was our kin

everyone was related

then we began to travel
turned each the other
into opposites
becoming and creating



we traverse this planet near the edge
of our dark milky galaxy,
rotating steadily, circling one sun
ghosted by one moon
in concert with no less than eight planets

we revolve with and without each other
and sometimes meet meteors
who whistle through star dust
creating sand storms
lake beds
mineral deposits
and fossilized amoeba

and as we move past comets
flying past us
we see stars fall
from the sky and marvel
at being in the middle
of all these galactic wonders

thus we travel
with and as aliens
in outer space on this planet
where we live

and everywhere we stay
we are surrounded
by other voyagers
like and unlike us

i know
i’ve always been an outsider
amidst immigrants

beside aliens
next to strangers
just like you


First published in Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice (University of Arizona Press 2016) and and then we became (City Lights Books 2016); reprinted here with permission of the press. Order the book here.



San Francisco’s Third Poet Laureate (2002-2006), Devorah Major has written five poetry books: and then we became, with more than tongue, where river meets ocean, street smarts (Winner, PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Excellence Award), and (with Opal Palmer Adisa) travelling women. She is also the author of four poetry chapbooks, two biographies for young adults, and two novels (Brown Glass Windows and An Open Weave, winner of the ALA Black Caucus First Novel Award). Trade Routes, a commissioned symphony with spoken word and chorus, premiered under Maestro Michael Morgan and the Oakland East Bay Symphony in 2006 and Classic Black: Voices of 19th Century African-Americans in San Francisco premiered at the 2005 San Francisco International Arts Festival. A three-time Cave Canem alum, Major performs her work nationally and internationally and works as Poet-in-Residence at San Francisco’s Fine Arts Museums and as a Senior Adjunct Professor in Diversity Studies at California College for the Arts. Her website is www.devorahmajor.com.


Start the conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.