The Last Invader

It squats on the charred metal bones
of a troop transport
on the outskirts of
some New England city—

long irradiated and still
but for the dusty winds
that invoke ghostly moans
as they pass through
vacant, windowless towers.

Put up a good fight,
these Earthlings,
even after the first wave
decimated their defenses;
no decisive victory
followed, though—

just long years of bloodshed
as the insurgency adapted;
advanced technology proved
less effective than anticipated.

Public support waned
as the arguments for invasion
grew nebulous:
the planet’s dwindling resources
no longer justified the appalling
loss of life …

… and Earthlings simply don’t
make good slaves.

It squats on the ruins,
the last invader,
overseeing the withdrawal
of occupying forces,
dreaming of returning to its home,
seeing its mate and their brood.

An unseen sniper, unaware
of the unspoken truce,
brings an end to its musings.

—Lee Clark Zumpe