Aphelion Issue 291, Volume 28
February 2024
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
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Alien Ship

by Thomas D Reynolds

In this world,
Even mistakes are sacred.
Not even pounding fists can protest
What even the children canʼt feel.
Lies are little birds that flock
Around a raindrop on one fallen leaf,
Every beak frozen before the feast.

Sometimes I walk upon the clouds,
Beyond houses shaped like faces
With shuttered eyes and cavern mouths.
Even sheltered beneath the rocks,
With legs gathered up like serpents,
I can taste acid on their tongues,
Feel percussion beneath my skin,
Combustible backfire of their misteach.

Only at night, watching offspring
Dangle from limbs already practicing
Their executions scheduled by stars,
Can I see dim outlines of an alien ship,
With the breadth of a shadowy country
And no windows except for the cockpit,
As the captainʼs breath fogs the glass
And the myriads kidnapped inside
Oblivious to his decision to hover,
Make like a protector, then destroy.

© 2007 Thomas D Reynolds

Thomas Reynolds teaches at Johnson County CommunityCollege in Overland Park, Kansas, and has published poems in various print and online journals, including Combat, American Western Magazine, Flint Hills Review, Alabama Literary Review, Aethlon-The Journal of Sport Literature, New Delta Review, The Green Tricycle, Ariga, 3rd Muse Poetry Journal, Sidereality, and Prairie Poetry. His poem "How to Survive on a Distant Planet," published in Strange Horizons, was nominated for a Rhysling award for best short poem.

Find more by Thomas D Reynolds in the Author Index.

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