Each of us an island, the key to navigating lies behind the sky
All across the country,
children stare up at the stars,
begging for understanding.
Still more are looking down
at the earth, at their own hands,
wondering how it got so wrong.
Searching for escape,
for something from somewhere else
to let them know there is life beyond all this.
Sideshow attractions, come and see them,
flaunting their freaked-up faces and eccentricities.
Speak in hushed tones about the invasion.
They’re coming for your homes and televisions.
They’ll take your children from you in the night.
You may see them again someday,
though their hair and clothes and faces might have changed
on the whim of these brain-invaders from beyond.
They stand before the pulpit, telling half-truths,
the stained-glass arches behind their heads lit with the light of a supernova.
Cover your ears, children.
Some things are not meant to be heard.
Hide your eyes from the things from beyond—
an awe-inspiring sight
draped in gold plastic that clings like the smell of nectar
shining like the death of stars.
Incredible things are out there.
Isn’t it boring to live in gridded boxes?
You fill in each square, playing hopscotch,
on your way to bigger grids and tighter boxes.
These bacchian rebels breed radical descent
leaving glitter-dust kisses in your hair.
They touch their lips behind your ear and murmur of home.
Home, where the lights stay on late into the night
and you can stand in the summer rain
feeling nothing but water on your skin.
In five rows of four, twenty eyes watch the clock,
wondering when they’ll be back again.
Those golden gods, they promised.
They’re coming for the children.
They could have chosen anyone, but they picked us.
Teacher says we’re lambs led to slaughter,
but we know better.
Light that firecracker with shaking fingers,
a flare, a beacon to beyond.
Snap, crackle, pop—
Fireworks go up in bubblegum sparks.
We howl like jackals in the desert night.
The tower of Babel never heard such talk.
Muttering confessions out of the corners of our mouths,
scuffing secrets into the gravel road.
She pulls me in close to her hip, puts on a grin
and the camera phone flashes.
I rest my hand on her shoulder,
knowing this is the last night.
Kira Lovell is currently an undergraduate journalism student at the University of Missouri and a freelance social media editor. Although she has written for and edited school publications, this is her first piece of published poetry.
Editor’s Notes: We are always delighted to be the first venue a poet is published. Congratulations to Kira on her unusual and well crafted poem. The accompanying artwork is an image of a star cruiser combined with a globular cluster reprocessed with special effects https://www.greekmythology.com/Olympians/Artemis/artemis.html