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by Ken Poyner

The last of the visitors steps
From his squatting starcraft, seemingly pulled
Like the caboose of a small child’s train,
Popped in line by the ones that came
Before. But I am thinking,

If they have rank, I bet
His is the greatest rank.

We must not get ahead of ourselves,

Or out of this context apply Terran sensibilities
To non-Terran order. This visitor
Breathes in great gulps and we marvel
How small his breathing apparatus actually
Is. We send the least of us

Forward, from the front of our line,
And this last of the visitors to disembark
Spreads his gargantuan dark wings.

All of us are thinking ‘he,’
Already tipping ourselves to disadvantage,
Not truly knowing if they posess
Sex or not, or how many sexes they represent;

Yet we are constrained by our pronouns.

I see feathers, and think he could
Never fly in our atmosphere.

Then a common grackle lands between us
And the clicks and songs from all our visitors
Begin, a cacophony like those
We hear in childhood with corn harvest or
Alongside a winter’s brimming backyard feeder.
And then another straight-faced grackle arrives.

Forgive me, but for no reason I think:

Copyright © 2019 by Ken Poyner

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