Dilemmas of the Angels: Extraterrestrial by David Romtvedt

The aliens land and at first she’s scared.

Has her Lord been keeping secrets?

Another wife and kids in a faraway galaxy?


It would be tempting.  Imagine saying,

“Let there be light.”  And, poof, there’s light.

The magic word is any word you want it to be—

Bucket, for example, or asphalt, and into the world

tumble jet planes, hair dryers, and vegetarian restaurants.


The Mayans say God made human beings from mud

but when it rained they washed away and he had

to start over.  So maybe we’re the other family.


Now the aliens are stepping out of their ship

which looks like a giant corncob painted blue.

That’s a nice detail, she thinks—that blue.


Could be these people created themselves.

Certainly our Lord didn’t attend so to detail.

Here it was light, dark, firmament, seas,

vault of heaven—all pretty vague.  It wasn’t

even clear whether angels have sexual organs.

Take that Cole Porter song—“Birds do it, bees

do it, even educated fleas do it.”  What about angels?


The problem is

there is no one

before whom the Lord

can bow his head

and be born again.


The aliens take off their shoes and socks

before walking barefoot across the lawn.

There’s something appealing about them—

those smiles.  They’re taking off their clothes,

space suits really, and lying down on the grass.

They’re wrapping their arms and legs around each other.

They’re doing what is done to create a new being.


“Hey,” she shouts, not that

she’s a prude but she’s been

in the garden before and knows

that the sprinklers come on at dusk

which it almost is.  And what if,

under the screen of water,

they are washed away?

Categories: Issue 2 - Spring 2012, Periodicals, Poetry | Tags: | Leave a comment

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