MY PET ALIEN
My pet alien has learned to breathe our air,
though it makes her giggle. “Howzabout you and me
go out for a spin in the ol’ saucer-o-roonie?”
she slurs, just before falling asleep. She’s only
two feet tall, with skin somewhere between vinyl
and suede. She levitates objects with her mind,
but when I ask if she can teach me to do that,
she says, “Forget it. Where I come from,
what you’ve got doesn’t count as a mind.”
She’s afraid of knobs. I have to work the appliances
for her. Sometimes she won’t shut up about home,
musing, “Where I come from, the rainbows have
extra colors, and clouds really are fluffy beasts.”
She’ll wrap all six limbs around my leg
and make me walk around like that, sing-songing,
“Dead weight! Dead weight! I’m a dead weight!”
She runs through summer grass, bounding and throwing
her arms at the sun, giving off frisky whistling sounds
that make birds think she’s god. She picks up a rock
and says, “Where I come from, we don’t have this,”
and we’ll talk for hours about the ontology of this.
She falls apart and puts herself back together
with every step. Sex, of course, is out of the question.
“Where I come from,” she explains, “we don’t reproduce.
We just keep revising ourselves.” She tells me humans
all look the same, and I tell her she looks the same too.
When she works, she makes little whispering noises
like a factory made of feathers. I ask if she loves me,
and she says, “Where I come from, love is eating
a really good bowl of noodles, and not getting stains
on your shirt,” and that’s good enough for me.
—from Rattle #53, Fall 2016
Dennis Caswell: “My formal training is as a computer nerd, and I continue to make my living as one, so, for me, writing poetry is an attempt to overcome my background and re-engineer myself as a person of sagacity, zest, wit, depth, and sexual megatonnage. It’s taking a little longer than I expected.” (website)