Invertebrate Gazebo

The vast Terran desert has always teemed

with slow life emerging from burrows,

muddling through as mammals do.


Front paws dig into sand, a dance of muscles 

and bones reaching millennia into 

the remains of an ancient silica sea. 


When deep space explorers tired

of the pull of gravity they sank,

sending bubbles up through ocean depths.


The incandescent glow of invertebrate life,

swimming untethered across vast chasms 

shuddered spines designed for bipedal locomotion. 


Jealous they were of watery realms 

full of tentacle propulsion and free movement 

down in frozen Europa and the Mariana Trench. 


The invertebrates sailed in gas giants and bounced in boiling seas,

slowing metabolism to endure the centuries

and excel in free-range evolution. 


They gathered in rock formations like gazebos,

from tidal pools to murky depths cocooned by pressure, 

a garden of life that confounded the vertebrate sentients. 

Angela Acosta is a bilingual Latina poet and Ph.D. Candidate in Iberian Studies at The Ohio State University. She is a 2022 Dream Foundry Contest for Emerging Writers Finalist, 2022 Somos en Escrito Extra-Fiction Contest Honorable Mention, Rhysling nominee, and Best of the Net nominee. Her speculative poetry has appeared in Eye to the Telescope, Radon Journal, Space & Time, and Shoreline of Infinity. She is author of Summoning Space Travelers (Hiraeth Books, 2023) and Fourth Generation Chicana Unicorn (Dancing Girl Press, 2023).

Creator Spotlight:

Angela Acosta

Author of “Invertebrate Gazebo”

What inspired you to write this poem?

When I write speculative poetry, I often think about a phrase or an interesting concept that I’d like to envision through poetry. I had written another poem related to anthropocene environments from a posthuman perspective, and I thought “Invertebrate Gazebo” would be a good direction for a new poem. I’m a college Spanish instructor by day, but I’ve always had a passion for architecture. I find gazebos and other outdoor leisure spaces so functional and aesthetically pleasing. What might invertebrates think of underwater gazebos and reef balls designed for new aquatic habitats?

What do you hope readers take from this poem?

I hope readers enjoy the non-human, invertebrate perspectives in the poem that are both familiar and strange, tantalizing views of life on planets and biomes where humans cannot survive or, in some cases, even visit. What does invertebrate perception and vision mean to each reader? I’m a big fan of Donna Haraway’s work on situated knowledges and the importance of learning “in our bodies, endowed with primate color and stereoscopic vision” (“Situated Knowledges”, 582). If only the tardigrades and squid could communicate with us bipedal homo sapien sapiens.


To give other writers hope, would you mind sharing with us how many edits and/or submissions this poem has been through?

I’m very fortunate to say that Apparition Lit was the second place I submitted this piece. I believe this marks my fifth submission to Apparition Lit and I’m excited to make my debut in the magazine! Keep submitting to markets you enjoy reading, and I’m grateful that Apparition Lit centers LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and multilingual voices and visions.


Recommend something to us! This could be a book, a short story, a video game, a project you’ve heard about, something you’re working on, etc. Anything that has you excited and that you want people to know about.

I just published my first speculative poetry collection! Summoning Space Travelers (Hiraeth Books) came out at the tail end of 2022 as a collection of poems that imagine human survival on Terra and among the stars. As was the case with “Invertebrate Gazebo”, the title came to mind before the poems took form. Rather than write to alien, non-human space travelers, I decided to reflect on the fears, triumphs, and mortality that link generations of humans past and present. These poems imagine futures for travelers of different time periods, cultures, genders, and abilities with a special focus on Latinx futures in the Spanish language poems I include in the collection which I accompany with my English translations.
You can get a digital or print copy of Summoning Space Travelers on the Hiraeth Books website:

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