Dear Wreckage by Matthew Murrey

“Tardigrades may have survived spacecraft crashing on moon”
The Guardian, headline, August 6, 2019

Good luck up there
little moss piglets, little water bears.
I first spied you in water
under a microscope decades ago.

I read how in one test you survived
exposure to space—the shattering
cold, cosmic rays, and an emptiness
that blows lungs and boils blood.

Tiny yet chubby, with eight legs and a valve
for a face, you are strange—but tough:
when there is nothing, you shrivel up
into an incredibly resistant crumb

while everything else is dead
set against you. Now you’re wrecked
on the moon—itty-bitty life notes
to a future countless lives

beyond mine. I hope you make it home
someday, that somebody—with some kind
of legs, eyes and hopes—scoops you up
brings you back, and soaks you to life.

That would deserve a parade, you as a giant
balloon. I’m picturing you floating five stories up
and guided down some wide avenue
like a huge Snoopy or a giant, yellow Pikachu.


Matthew Murrey’s poems have appeared in many journals such as Prairie SchoonerSplit Rock Review, and Under a Warm Green Linden. He’s the recipient of an NEA Fellowship, and his debut collection, Bulletproof – selected by Marilyn Nelson – was published in February 2019 by Jacar Press. He’s a public school librarian in Urbana, Illinois where he lives with his partner; they have two grown sons. He tweets at @mytwords and his website is at

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