Alien

BY Ting Gou


            Hello, Heaven. You are a tunnel lined with yellow lights. 
                                                                   —Lana Del Rey, “Yayo"


I’m wading through the grass again,
trying to remember how I got here

and why I’m shivering.
It’s raining. My mother is inside 

hanging laundry over the bathtub.
The heavy stalks, burdened with new mud,

sink and fold toward each other
over soil involuting

from how my mother’s feet struck
the ground as she ran, 

our clothes kept dry.  
Some time ago, I decided 

that this was not
the way to heaven,

though there are yellow lights here too:
rusted gutters blinking white 

with lightning, 
the neighbor’s two-door clunker

screaming in alarm. 
Everything oversaturated. No use

for subtle dreams. 
The house: a peacock green.

The atmosphere: extraterrestrial. 
In this yard where every object 

is turning into something alien, 
I am being beamed 

into a spaceship and I am glad, 
think, This is a good thing.

How we can make anything a heaven
by naming it:

Hello, tunnel lined with municipal light.
Hello, house with snakes 

in the crawlspace. 
And the thought: 

had it not been for my father’s hand
pulling me back that day

from the hissing coils, 
I would still carry the puncture wounds

from a dead animal’s teeth.  
I’d say I often dream about this house

but that’s a lie: there are some things
we resurrect by force. 

The lifespan of a house
is the sum of the lifespans

of all its inhabitants.
The aliens, with their technologies, 

understand:  they know what it takes
to keep from dying.

After a time, we approach
their planet of ice. 

The ship starts a mechanical beeping.
Some distant god lifts it dark head

out of the snow.
How close we are all to heaven.

 


Ting Gou is a student at the University of Michigan Medical School. Her first chapbook, The Other House, is forthcoming from Blue Lyra Press. Her poems can be found in Arcturus, Best of the Net, Bellevue Literary Review, Ghost Ocean Magazine, Midwestern Gothic, r.kv.r.y., Superstition Review, Word Riot, and elsewhere.