Rewilding the Axolototl

Some of the smallest survivors of
the Mexica civilization live underwater,
bobbing along Lake Xochimilco
like before the conquest;
hear their stories float
with little bubbles,
all-knowing smiles wise
with generations of treacherous secrets.

When the lakes became congested
with processions, algae strewn like
fallen papel picado and trash,
the axolotls domesticated themselves,
breathing air in unison for the first time.

They complained about their living conditions,
thus convincing humans to shelter these
forever young amphibians,
tickled pink with their charm.

Lab-grown rambunctious amphibians vied
for a prime spot in the ISS student experiments,
crawling aboard among plant seeds and cardboard
cutout solar panels. These almost stowaways made
it to the Lunar Gateway, then on to Mars
where they would dive and dine
in waters melted from frozen rocks.

The rewilded axolotls were known
to climb out of the water to watch
rocket launches, never desiring to
go further than their one perfect pond
on the Martian surface.

—Angela Acosta