Chip swanned around with the boys who spoke Spanish in the Seventies
before the chain saw came to Florida and cut up more than a few compañeros.
I reminisce about how Lulu loved him in his pink St Laurent suit—
tailored, close-fitted to his 5’5” frame.
I bring to mind his Doberman, Sherlock, who couldn't be left alone
or he'd have a breakdown, eat the sheet rock.
Outside, Sherlock would sing in loud staccato barks and run
a path in the grass next to the chain link until he wore it down.
I recall how Chip did not believe he’d ever be on the working end
of a 357 and when he was, called it a skin test, called it the breaks of the game.
I reflect on him when I read another memoir from a man who climbed
something or hiked something or had something, but not everything, to lose.
Many of you have already been taken,
some of us anticipate the slack whoosh and hum
that signal alien arrival above just-cut crop circles.
Many of you, back in your cubicles, wear half-smiles,
evidence you’ve seen the light on the spaceships of adolescence:
Enterprise, Millennium Falcon, Nostromo, those aluminum Frisbees
and dark, utilitarian pots ready-made to disgorge their Borg
and Chewbaccas, their Gorts. We who have been passed over
listen hard for our "Klaatu barada nikto!" the homing signal
for the delayed who wait to claim an address on the rim
of a galaxy we can’t yet see. Remaindered, we struggle
to select the perfect place for contact. Until they come for us,
we linger, curled in our basements and attics, pondering the Visigoths
and the Salerian Gate, questioning the kindness of travel.
Wendy Taylor Carlisle lives and writes in the Arkansas Ozarks. She is the 2020 winner of the Phillip H. McMath Post-Publication Award for The Mercy of Traffic and this spring, Doubleback Books reprinted her 2008 book, Discount Fireworks, available free at: Doubleback Books. Her website is www.wendytaylorcarlisle.com. Photo by Greg Comnes.