(from Danse Macabre 29
I do not and cannot doubt the veracity of the Hill’s account, and believe in the factual reality of their experience.
—Rev. John D. Swanson, Christ Church, Portsmouth, NH, 1963
That eerie glow outshone the pale crescent moon,
late summer stars, she recalled, and (what they
couldn’t know) light that streamed 220
trillion miles to Earth from Zeta Reticuli.
She looked over at Barney. No, not a plane.
It flit above the White Mountain treetops,
then hovered 200 yards ahead on
that lonely stretch of U.S. Highway 3.
She’d seen that look come over him before.
In the diner where they’d last stopped en route—
the sidelong stares at the Negro with his
misceginated wife, as though aliens
in their native Granite State, where men
Live Free or Die— He pulled over and stepped
outside the car with his .22, pressing
binoculars deep into his eyes’ sweaty sockets.
Then: at 100 feet in a clearing to their left,
She yelled imploring Barney to get back in,
and they sped off past the Franconia Notch with
Delsey in the back seat barking uncontrollably.
Strange beeping sounds, deafening—yes!—shook the car
at Indian Head, and tingling sensations,
a drowsiness which threatened to overtake
them both— That’s all she could remember for sure
before those nights she would wake up screaming.
Within the circumference of two hours un-
accounted for, the orbit of their
extraordinarily ordinary lives had jumped
its valence, yawing into hyper-space, where
they would spend the next two years retreiving it.
Breathe deeper now,
Dr. Smith leaned forward reassuringly,
as though to reel her back at
the same time he detonated the launch:
Breathe, and tell me, Betty, what you see.
Perhaps it was the social worker in her,
whose genial instinct was always to befriend
and help, that she, unlike her cranky husband,
would be so willing to cooperate.
It’s true they were disrobed and specimens
were taken from them both without consent.
They asked her to point to her planet on
the holographic star map, a jumble of
unnamed coordinates and intersecting lines
—she couldn’t say. Somehow, they bypassed
their gray mouths with slitted lips that didn’t move
What is a year? What is time?
Again, she was at a loss to explain, and nothing
she knew how to say that spoke to a world
that they might understand.
We are saddened to announce to DM readers the passing of Brant Lyon, whose work we nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2009. He was a poet-musician-composer who conflated spoken word with music hosting his reading series, “Hydrogen Jukebox,” at NYC’s Soho Playhouse. As a composer and studio musician, particularly for poets, his own CD, “Beauty Keeps Laying Its Sharp Knife Against Me” (Logochrysalis 2008), has done that, too. He was an associate editor for Uphook Press and Big City Lit. His poetry, short fiction, and other work has appeared in DM, Rattle, Ganymede, Red Wheelbarrow Poets (vols. 1 & 2), and A Cautionary Tale.