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First Contact

[Seventh Labor]

by Greg Wrenn

                                                    You loom over me, you burn
                     above, a cigar-shaped mothership scorching my tuft.
I’m the Show-Me-State farmer immobilized by you.
                                                     When you’re done with me, there’s missing time,
                                  a deep scoop-mark or three on my thigh.  
                     A tracking device throbs below my hairline.

                                                     Our double-sided toys return to their drawer.
                                  You and I febreze your pillowtop,
                                                     tawny as raw cane sugar, and the box
     springs, the ottoman where we began.
                                                     The smell of pug-waste lingers.
                     We make the bed, I see your happy trail’s

                                  braided like Saturn’s F-ring, your beard-body,
                                                                                  at the sternum, has a hairless
                                  Arecibo dish where you receive 120 million
     simultaneous channels from the Milky Way—I sort
                                                                    through them, wirelessly,
                     for the breakthrough signal. Just one chord
                                                     of ancient song. I also listen for signs of death.


Greg Wrenn’s poetry has appeared in The Yale Review, Pleiades, The Antioch Review, and elsewhere. His chapbook, Off the Fire Road (Green Tower Press, 2010), won the 2008 Midwest Chapbook Series Contest. He recently returned home to St. Louis after months in Asia, where he was researching his first novel. This fall he will be a Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University. (4/2010)

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