A Collaboration With Mother

Once there was an alien, stranded on an alien planet.
It was all so strange –
the alien, the creatures, the blue air.
It saw how the creatures stood upright and moved,
and it began to move like them.
It walked to a rock fountain and sat down and tried
to remember everything that had happened
but it was all blurred and out of order, although the fountain’s sound
was soothing and somehow familiar, like a memory from before birth.
It gurgled as if trying to breathe.
It splashed as if trying to swim.
It’s rhythm was as erratic and random as the order
in which stars appear at night.
The alien watched the creatures walk in and out of buildings with clear doors.
Their footsteps clacking against the flat and dull ground.
There was nowhere the alien knew to go.
There was nothing the alien knew how to do.
So it laid down on a bench to wait for whatever might happen.
Maybe the star would set here too.
Maybe there was a moon or two.
The alien’s ears began to hurt for home,
so unbelievably far away.
The creatures would stop and point at the alien and make sounds
that were not like the birds or bears from home.
But they didn’t linger for long.
Soon the lights went out and the creatures appeared less and less.
Night came. The constellations were all wrong, night sounds
few and insistently monotonous.
How could the alien begin to know anything?
Was there some place to go? Some reason to be?
It was all so strange – the alien and the night and the sounds.
But the air was light and cool.
The alien sat up on the bench and enjoyed breathing for a while.
Its eyes closed. Its shoulders dropped.
Its breast rose and fell and rose and fell
and the fountain continued swimming and the lights
behind the alien’s eyelids began to burst
with reds and yellows and in its brain a voice came.
Faint. Female. Mother.

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