Phoning home

By | 1 February 2020

I am not so brave as Elliot, could never lay out
a candy path for hungry, lost forms to follow
through the dark backyard to my bedroom door.

I’m in awe of this pale, awkward boy peddling
hard in little red hoodie, riding his bicycle across
the blue moon through crisp pine-needle night,
with the brown heart-shaped head of his small
alien friend blanket-cloaked in the basket up front,
pursued by sirens and uniforms, buoyed by love.

Often, you are alien to me. When our fingers touch
there’s spark. You lift me over landscapes but I’m
afraid you’ll let me fall. I have allowed the wrong
ones to carry me before. Let’s just lie here on our
backs now, pedal each other’s feet above the floor.

Together we must escape the Earthmen who land
stern as politicians in the driveway to set up
quarantine in space suits — an adult intervention
so sterile and inhuman, it turns us both white.

You’re killing him! Elliot shouts as E.T.’s heart
slows and stops in his small chalky chest.
The flowers droop and the body bag is zipped
and it’s cold as frost but the corpse glows red.

If you are sick and I can’t cure you, then we are both
sick. If you need family near you, I want them close
too. If sadness drifts in to settle ashen across your
face, then I must brave the boats, seek the mothership.

There will be times you will feel extraordinarily
lonely on this blue planet if you stay, my alien friend.
You’ll see the broken father of a washed-up child
and understand that nature failed with human hearts.

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