Alien Invasions at the Evans Salvage Grocery

by M. D. Myers

 
You look past dents in the cans.
            Bruised fruit-flesh—that’s fine.
                        But boxes, you have to inspect the seams.

At 15, I pretend sci-fi—

                        [the food comes to us from far away.
                        has had a rough journey from earth to this
                        boiling rock. we’ve been marooned. maybe
                        we were criminals, who knows, who cares anymore.
                        survive. don’t get eaten.
                                                            sometimes we are invaded]

At 15, I bring home grain beetles

for the second time. Secret breach. They sing in the cupboard
            in the box in the rice. After three days I wake
                        to my sister’s reproach—
                                    check the seams.
                                                 This all has to go.

                        [they’re everywhere cry the abandoned colonists]

She fights for a week against their gleaming
            incursion. Seed-bodies, tiny mouths, wanton
                        & hungry in the cabinets. Then gassed.
                                    Popped like seeds, small implosion of air.

                        [i am still scraping along on that planet       rationing
                        the good oxygen       failing to check the frontiers for risk]

Last night you were fighting
            with bottles again— I drove you
                        by the house my mother was made
                                    to give back, where I pretend

the invaders I unknowingly smuggled as a child
            are germinating in the dark kitchen.
                        [they have been waiting for years       growing in size and hunger]
                                    We know a thing or two about family

setting fire to the carpet beneath
            our homely feet. The new owners keep
                        the grass short, don’t collect trash
                                    like curios. But they saved the swing

my grandfather hung, & its tree was still strong.
            Swinging with you under the bottle-
                        colored moon, we listened together
                                    [different invasions
            familiar alien
                        glittering seed-song—
                                    high & old & hungry]

M. D. Myers lives and works Fayetteville, AR, where she co-curates the Open Mouth Reading Series and attempts indoor gardening. She has received scholarships to attend the Squaw Valley Community of Writers Poetry Workshop, and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Apalachee Review and Sundog Lit. She is an MFA candidate at the University of Arkansas.