Size / / /

From ships sent to study our planet,

they listen to waves vibrating our air,

the cacophony of drills, screams, desperate calls,

which they tune out with flicks of dials

to zero in on rhythmic stuttering

and swelling crescendos of low and high tones.

Notes are recorded, a slow dissection of the human heart,

something there which humans cannot fully articulate,

how resilient, yet how vulnerable, they have evolved.

These recordings, drained of humanity and all imperfection,

are then beamed back in the seething swirl of dissonance,

where few notice, except at odd moments

inside stores or elevators, when some dark chill

overtakes their hearts, glimmers of the unknown,

when just for an instant they detect the presence

of some cold intelligence devoid of empathy,

and sense menace, that we all may die.

Thomas D. Reynolds received an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University, currently teaches at Johnson County Community College, and has published poems in various print and online journals, including New Delta Review, Alabama Literary Review, Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature, American Western Magazine, Combat, The MacGuffin, and Midwest Poetry Review. His poem "How to Survive On a Distant Planet," previously published in Strange Horizons, was nominated for a Rhysling Award in the short poem category. You can send Thomas email at
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