Saturday, September 14, 2013
I stood on the porch that night,
the lights from a parent’s car just vanishing
at the end of the street. My friend and I
had been to a movie, It Came From
Outer Space. Above me, the stars
had lost their innocence. My block
throbbed with threats from distant galaxies.
Because I was late, I entered the house
quietly, hoping to sneak unnoticed upstairs.
All seemed normal enough for the usual
Saturday night of too much drinking—
My parents, asleep, he in his chair
in front of the guttering television screen,
she splayed out on the studio couch
in a nearby room. How quickly
the known world can turn strange.
I knew what it was when I saw it
on the living room floor. I had swiped
them from Crown Drugs and filled them
with water to ambush passing cars. This one,
viscous, lay damply coiled on the rug
like the sloughed husk of a newborn alien
that must have streaked from deepest space
even as my friend and I hunkered down
in the Southtown Theater’s three-dimensional
darkness. My brain, agitated,
could come to only two conclusions,
one so fantastic my mind refused
the gross picture it posed. The only credible
way to explain it: Extraterrestrials.
Either way, I had no choice but to destroy
the evidence, picking the sticky chrysalis
skin up with a thick wad of Kleenex
and shoving it deep in the kitchen trash
right alongside my own astonishment.
Upstairs, I tried hard to distract myself
with prayer, but that wet rubber
crackled in my mind’s air like static
and there was no getting through
that night to the starry kingdom of God.
Next morning at breakfast, I studied them
carefully through my new 3-D glasses,
my father in profile with his coffee
and Sunday paper, Mother a bit
groggy at the stove, tending
pans of bacon and eggs. Nothing
amiss: no telltale scales on his hands,
no saw-toothed tail switching beneath
her gossamer robe. All through breakfast
I stayed vigilant, my eyes as sharp
as Flash Gordon’s, my mind hyper
with the ammo of fight or flight.
After breakfast I planned to search
in our backyard for the crater, the mother ship
I knew it would contain.
I would bravely destroy the invaders.
Then it would be my most solemn duty
to inform the world: From now on
here, on Planet Earth, things would never,
ever again be the same.
About the Poet:
Randall R. Freisinger's poems have appeared in numerous literary magazines and anthologies and have been nominated for five Pushcart Prizes. He has four collections of poems: Running Patterns (1985 Flume Press National Chapbook Competition winner), Hand Shadows (Green Tower Press, 1988), Plato’s Breath (May Swenson Poetry Prize, Utah State University Press, 1997), and Nostalgia’s Thread: Ten Poems on Norman Rockwell Paintings (Hol Art Books, 2009).
He was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, and educated at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Since 1977 he has lived in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, where he is Emeritus Professor of Rhetoric, Literature, and Creative Writing in the Department of Humanities at Michigan Technological University.
About the Sound of Sugar:
We’ve loved reading the work that we’ve published (clearly), so now we want an opportunity to better hear our contributors. We will feature an audio recording of a poem from one of our seven issues, read by the poet and updated every couple of weeks. This an open invitation to all contributors from any of our issues, we were delighted to print your work, now we’re eager to hear it.