‘Interstellar Wallflower’, Samuel Lowd Goldstein

Art © 2023 Dr T. Eratopo

 [ Parrot © 2023 Dr T. Eratopo ] First contact didn’t go well
it went like a junior-high dance.
After emerging from their crystal ships
they didn’t even look in our direction
but went to hang out with the cephalopods
and cetaceans.

The next day, politicians tried to greet them officially,
a pageant of self-important solemnity.
They just waved an appendage and didn’t stay to listen,
spending the afternoon with elephants instead.
It hurt our feelings, but things got worse.

Later, scientists presented them with volumes
representing all the things we know,
and artists presented them with paintings,
and musicians played them music.
They hesitated,
raised a pseudopod politely,
even read and looked and listened for a moment distractedly.
It seemed more out of pity than interest,
as if they were thinking about lemurs.

Then some Americans tried to pick a fight
only to find themselves immobilized,
guns falling leaden from loosened grasp
while a cascade of colored lights
recited a weirdly-phrased lecture on non-violence.

In the end
they spent most of their time with the crows
wingless yet soaring alongside them
swooping and diving and frolicking
writing joyous trails through thermals and clouds.

They left without saying goodbye.
And while we hadn’t noticed them hobnobbing
while they were here,
the parrots have never looked at us the same way since.

© 2023 Samuel Lowd Goldstein

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