The Usual Muck

I’m wondering about aliens
and what they’ll look like
when they finally come
waving imperceptible antennae
searching for leaders and finding no one
up to snuff

a subversive act on my part
but that’s not the only reason
more a subtle tug, like something lost
or a dream whose substance
has dissipated into morning
but which still lingers as distraction

it’s okay, I’ll say
offering myself up to their cool
inhuman gaze, and sighing a breath
full of biomarkers, my smell familiar
to them, and I’ll know what I’m looking at
even if no one else does

the shadow biosphere
below the region of electrical charge
here all along, and I knew it too
but couldn’t put a finger on

meanwhile Enceladus
shoots water molecules to Titan
its global ocean home
to who knows what
waiting to meet the neighbours
too busy howling
to hear the doorbell.

—Magdalena Ball