Francine Witte: “Alien Story”

Francine Witte’s First Rain won the 2009 Pecan Grove Press National Chapbook Competition. Her poems are spare yet filled with longing, like the empty rooms in an Edward Hopper painting. Their narrators reach for the unsentimental wisdom to be found on the far side of divorce, aging, and other losses. Thanks to Francine and publisher H. Palmer Hall at Pecan Grove for permission to reprint the excerpt below.

Alien Story

Last night, it was
late, and this morning she points
where the earth sunk
in like a breakfast bowl.
A shape nothing human could have made.

No way to explain
how it filled itself
in like a love story.
The cops have heard
it all before, these open fields
and the lies they’d tell a woman.

How real it must have seemed
to her, the flashing lights,
the creatures
with their bumped, green skin.

Real as the dent
her last man left in the sofa. A space
carved out
as he sat and sat
explaining his way
towards the door.

A space she sees
even now, sometimes,
when she’s cleaning,
careful not to touch.

Six months gone,
each evening she’s by the window
framing the darkness.

Her eyes sweep
the sky like a searchlight.
She’s looking for something
that never heard of love.