Emily Blair’s poems have appeared in the The Mississippi Review, Stolen Island, WSQ and Cura Magazine, and she is the author of the illustrated chapbook Idaville (Booklyn). In 2014, she received a New York Foundation of the Arts Fellowship in Poetry. She also creates artists’ books and collaborates with social practice artist Michelle Illuminato under the name Next Question. More of her work can be seen at emilyblair.com and nextquestion.org.
The Deadly Years
On this planet they wear miniskirts in winter.
Women paint themselves,
men in tunics plot,
boys in the cafeteria laugh at my underwear.
We travel through the neutral zone
at warp speed eight,
then slowly past the pizza parlor,
bumper to bumper.
The whole universe looks alike:
same terrain, same sky.
We kick over the traces
of a long-dead civilization
and do donuts in the parking lot.
We disguise ourselves as Romans,
as robots in revealing jumpsuits,
until we’re betrayed by our blood-shot eyes
and sloppy salute.
When did this research mission go so wrong?
We blew our budget on gold rickrack and Reynold’s Wrap
so now we’re stuck on the surface
in this small town
waiting for the phone to ring or space to rift.
Yesterday you met mirror me,
the rude one in the weird shirt.
You seemed to be mostly synthetic.
Today I’m screaming in a plastic cylinder
when you materialize in a fog bank
to borrow my favorite sweater.
Your mind is wiped by an alien obelisk,
I’m showered with spores,
but we still laugh at the same dumb jokes.
Now I’m a trail of crystals,
and you are the jukebox brain that runs the joint.
Then both of us are outlines filled with swirling glitter.
Let’s blow this popsicle stand.