group of people throwing paper lantern on sky during night

Poetry No. 87 – Martina Reisz Newberry

Sadie and the Swan

by Martina Reisz Newberry

Sadie says she has been visited by an alien. 
I say, “You live in L.A. Of course, you’ve seen aliens.  
Who hasn’t?”  She turns down her mouth. 
She says I never believe anything she says. 
(It’s true that I often doubt her, but not always.)

“Okay,” I say. “What did the alien look like?” 
Like an exquisitely evil swan, she says. 
“With wings?” I ask. 
No wings. Hands.
“How many feet did it have?” 
“How long was its beak?” 
‘Bout 19 inches long.
“What color was it?” 
Puce and some yellow at the ends of the fringed jacket.
“Jacket? It wore a jacket?
I think it was a jacket. Fingers poked out of the sleeves.
“Did it speak to you?”  
She guffawed. Of course, it spoke to me. 
Why would it visit if it wasn’t going to speak to me? 

She had a point. 
“So, what did it say?”  
It asked, she said, eyes welling up, 
Is love supposed to be a thing you people put inside 
fire lanterns and let go into the atmosphere at dark,
hoping that it will light up night’s pessimism?’
“What did you say?”
I couldn’t speak, she tells me.
Now she was crying huge glassy tears.
“Why does that make you cry, Sadie luv?” 
Because I was wondering the same thing myself
just yesterday and I was afraid to ask you.

Martina Reisz Newberry is the author of several books of poetry. Her most recent book is GLYPHS (from Deerbrook Editions). She is widely published in literary journals in the U.S. and abroad. She lives in Los Angeles.

Photo by Abby Kihano on

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