Scorched Earth

I was watching my zealot neighbor
picking individual zoysia blades at dusk
when it occurred to me there was no way
he would ever be able to disguise
that UFO scar on his front yard.
He could subscribe to every right-wing rag
but he could not deny his perfect zoysia grass
had been scorched by a spaceship.
I thought about drones awhile,
watched him under my eyelashes
for another good hour.
I wondered how he explained
the chemistry of this burn.
He was an engineer, after all.
Even if he plucked grass in the dark,
he probably didn’t believe
in poetry or outer space.
But I’d seen them land
in the viscera of night.
They flew in from the right,
the far right, with birches in their hands.
I’d seen them unload their shovels and dirt.
I’d heard the yowl in their eyes,
smelled the sweat of their plans.
They were serious, and sure
they could not be stopped.
Soon, others would come,
alien multitudes
in a strident shield of color,
fisting the air with rage,
howling words my neighbor
doesn’t know, though
they speak the same language.

Copyright © 2017 Elizabeth Rees. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Spring 2017.