The Poems “Sci-Fi” by Smith and “Of the Threads…” by Espada Essay

The narrator reveals the historical environmental injustices meted on his community when he says, “I understand a smoking mattress better than the language of galaxies.” Martin Espada effectively uses imagery to portray interactions and important events in each of the three men’s lifetimes. Additionally, “seeing stars” can be understood as a double meaning or double entendre because the phrase both refers to observing the celestial bodies or suffering a concussion from being knocked out. The poem was published in 2013 when the rates of premature mortalities due to air pollution reached unprecedented levels. Consequently, “I never saw stars” may also allude to the narrator’s failure to see the dead infants reach their full potential in life.

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