Home > Poetry > First Contact
Published: Thu Jul 1 2010
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.
First Contact

_                                                    _You loom over me, you burn
_                     _above, a cigar-shaped mothership scorching my tuft.
I’m the Show-Me-State farmer immobilized by you.
_                                                    _ When you’re done with me, there’s missing time,
_                                  _a deep scoop-mark or three on my thigh.
_                     _A tracking device throbs below my hairline.

_                                                    _ Our double-sided toys return to their drawer.
_                                  _You and I febreze your pillowtop,
_                                                    _ tawny as raw cane sugar, and the box
_     _springs, the ottoman where we began.
_                                                    _ The smell of pug-waste lingers.
_                     _We make the bed, I see your happy trail’s

_                                  _braided like Saturn’s F-ring, your beard-body,
_                                                                                 _ at the sternum, has a hairless
_                                  _Arecibo dish where you receive 120 million
_     _simultaneous channels from the Milky Way—I sort
_                                                                   _ through them, wirelessly,
_                     _for the breakthrough signal. Just one chord
_                                                    _ of ancient song. I also listen for signs of death.

Greg Wrenn’s first book, Centaur, was selected by Terrance Hayes for the 2013 Brittingham Prize in Poetry. His work has appeared in AGNI, The Best American Poetry 2014, The New Republic, The Kenyon Review, New England Review, and elsewhere. He has completed a second collection of poems, Northwest Passage, and is at work on a series of linked essays about coral reefs, impermanence, and human destiny. A former Stegner Fellow, he teaches at Stanford University. His website is at gregwrenn.com. (updated 3/2015)

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