First Contact

Ken Poyner

First Contact

Most everyone was expecting
Little gray men, two black
Shiny hard-plastic-seeming eyes,
Two spindly arms, four
Or five fingers, insubstantial
Legs, naked. Not sure why,
But perhaps it is a racial
Memory, or the average
Of too many science fiction movies.

When, by and large, they looked
Like over-fed chimpanzees in spandex
We were all let down. Stunned, perhaps.

Nonetheless, we tried to make
The best of it, served up
Our most diplomatic reserves,
Made several series of gestures
We had earlier calculated most likely
To signal a welcome and respect.

Seems they placed no onus
On the half laugh
From some minor fellow at the back
Invited to be on our delegation
At the last moment and not
Properly schooled on restraining
Expectations. Our visitors
Would agree, I hope,
That there is a science to everything.


Ken Poyner retired recently from his 33 years in information management. Two early collections of poetry are out of print, and his currently in print two poetry collections and four short fiction collections are available from Barking Moose Press, Amazon, and on-line bookstores everywhere, print and e-book. He lives in the lower right corner of Virginia with his wife of 40+ years, multiple rescue cats, and several demonstrative betta fish. Recent work in Café Irreal, Silver Blade, Gone Lawn, Frigg, elsewhere.

Author’s Comments/Bckstory: “I have gathered from the scant Alien Encounters analyses I’ve seen that people report the aliens as ‘little grays’ most commonly. Even if someone were not affected by the prejudice, I wonder what would happen if on first formal contact the aliens were in a form some might find ludicrous, or were acting or gesturing ways some might find unbearably comical.  It might be difficult for some to remain entirely composed. I think we imagine such a meeting would be a sober, perhaps somber engagement, but it may not be.”

Editor’s Notes: Image credit: green aliens (

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One Response to First Contact

  1. Fred Levy says:

    Ken, good work, fun metaphor of how our world deals with difference and our programmed expectations.

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