Stranger Here

Christmas, 2007 / No. 19

This review in the Gazette startles me.

THE LONELY PLANET,” about a book called Rare Earth,

by two profs from Washington state.

It’s positing the earth encountered such spectacular coincidences

(this to grow life advanced enough to create Star Trek)

we could well be unique. Alone. In the galaxy:

Just us. Another true meaning for justice. Another justification

for haute couture and bizarre behaviour….To send the book’s ideas

into combat the authors deploy Science & Sheer Speculation.

It takes me back to less person per inch—the folks out late

and the babysitter getting down to something heavy

with her boyfriend in the basement.

I hear my voice echoing through the empty nest.

Imagine us not being studied by some more advanced form of life!

Break it down to haiku:

Three caterpillars.

One leaf-filled Bick’s pickle jar.

Seven holes poked out.

Surprised to report my next thoughts on the solo system

include the possibility of never having a child—no energetic proxy

to set loose on the lonely planet (or the babysitter).

(I’m conditioned from an uptown upbringing

and greying sideburns to thinking of progeny

when presented with compelling ideas of life advancing.)

Perhaps it has to do with making a little planet—

someone to read to us when we grow old, when it is proven

beyond any shadow, alone in our galaxy.

Alone with our only sun, when the clouds don’t hide it,

with our one measly moon,

when the clouds allow for that.

I look up (my head is lifted anyway) but quickly and safely return.

Here comes the Sun King—

trying to squeeze his Sun Queen.

Looking for his glasses. Trying to read to her

(if she is not alienated by bizarre behaviour). It has snowed

all afternoon—tonight the world cowers alone.