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SilenceTo Wendy Carlisle's previous piece     Some Questions Raised by Observing the Church of the Firstborn Sign on Highway 99 S.To Wendy Carlisle's next piece


There is no way to tell by looking.  We are always fooled
by their fat-old-man disguises, their frumpy clothes.  We’re blind
to long eyes, hidden under sunglasses, the inky hole
beneath a specious nose.  Our friends resemble us,
confused, well-meaning.  We like their ways, so like our own.

They enter our lives, move into our newspapers, onto
our breakfast tables served with the hominy,
make themselves at home, even as they draw away.  Satisfied,
we never gripe when they’re lost for hours, tell small lies.
We don’t care to notice the hubbub under backyard tarps.  Or how
the craft takes shape inside its metal skin.  Our amigos
still seem known and plausible, if reluctant to confide.  Only
when they spike away, vanish into hyperspace, are we convinced
we didn’t know them well.  Although we say it was impossible to tell.