Coming Out Alien to My Father

On this planet, my father
can barely hear, and his hands tremble
as if thrown around in an earthquake.
He puts ice in his milk. He keeps every receipt
but doesn’t update the budget.
The skin on his face appears smooth, but isn’t.
It droops down from the cheekbones and chin
and gathers at his neck like a sail of flesh and freckle.
A practical man. When I sit him down
to explain where I’m from, he turns sideways
in the chair and mentions my motorcycle.
Will I put it up for sale? What do I owe, and suggests
a used car he would like me to like.
“Please,” I persist, “please just answer me”
“do you understand what I’m saying”
“It’s impossible” he says. “What you’re saying
is impossible.” And who can blame him.
With so many alien rumors, blurred “spaceship” images,
tinfoil hats, probes and abductions
and no one has really seen anything, and why
would aliens come in stealth and steal people and run away?
So, ignoring irony of his disbelief
I say “But can you imagine? Can you at least imagine?”
And he can’t, although I think he nods, or trembles
and remains sitting sideways, and mentions
that used car again.
What can I do?
What is left
for me to do?
I look at his ear
as he looks out the door.
He has heard me and knows now.
So I give him my own list of cars.
I tell him the price I am willing to pay.


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