Size / / /

smells of moondust and cordite,

is paler than talc, and

walks funny, especially during

the first few days of furlough.

Mother, he'll hug outright, but

before he'll give any of us kids

piggyback rides, we have to undergo

examination via portable scanner. Our

father, it seems, has never gotten

over his fear of "infiltrates," yet

with hand shadows can shape nine

different alien species on the wall.

His keloid scars form no discernable pattern.

Our father (who art from heaven)

sleeps standing-up, in an anti-

gravity chamber, but Mother

will join him only if he takes off

his socks and locks his ray gun.

As before,

new nicknames for us emerge

in quick enough order,

our salutes grow regulation crisp,

and every one of our tickle zones are

soon identified and placed under

martial law.

After a while, we become less frightened

of him, but still never stop calling

him "sir" or "Colonel" for the duration

of his visit. (Hallowed be his name.)

When our father goes back to Armstrong,

the new moon

hangs in the sky like a lantern

of black crepe.

Robert Borski works for a consortium of elves repairing shoes in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. You can read more of his work in our archives.
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