Crash-landed between stands of hardwoods, he exits
a space capsule in Levis and high-top basketball shoes
and a t-shirt repeating John Lennon: God Is A Concept
By Which We Measure Our Pain. There’s a lake. But
he knows walking on water may draw one-sided stares,
so he swims, shaking off reentry’s customary battering.
A circular contusion on his bare alien arm is healing
in the shape of the Seal of the Great State of Ohio—
cabin lights are a summoning akin to the last-wish
Any Dry Ground of drowning sailors. The sooner
he does what he’s sworn to do, the sooner he returns
to wife and kids. Swimming, he visualizes her. Them.
He stands, sodden with Wonder and feeling that, here,
all joy starts with stepping over a sea of plastic bottles.
Roy Bentley is the author of Walking with Eve in the Loved City, chosen by Billy Collins as finalist for the Miller Williams poetry prize; Starlight Taxi, winner of the Blue Lynx Poetry Prize; The Trouble with a Short Horse in Montana, chosen by John Gallaher as winner of the White Pine Poetry Prize; as well as My Mother’s Red Ford: New & Selected Poems 1986 – 2020 published by Lost Horse Press. Poems have appeared in North American Review, december, Crazyhorse, The Southern Review, Rattle, Shenandoah, and Prairie Schooner among others. His latest is Beautiful Plenty (Main Street Rag, 2021).