Scorched Earth

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I was watching my zealot neighbor
picking individual zoysia blades at dusk
when it occurred to me there was no way
he would ever be able to disguise
that UFO scar on his front yard.
He could subscribe to every right-wing rag
but he could not deny his perfect zoysia grass
had been scorched by a spaceship.
I thought about drones awhile,

watched him under my eyelashes
for another good hour.
I wondered how he explained
the chemistry of this burn.
He was an engineer, after all.
Even if he plucked grass in the dark,
he probably didn’t believe
in poetry or outer space.

But I’d seen them land
in the viscera of night.
They flew in from the right,
the far right, with birches in their hands.
I’d seen them unload their shovels and dirt.
I’d heard the yowl in their eyes,
smelled the sweat of their plans.
They were serious, and sure
they could not be stopped.

Soon, others would come,
alien multitudes
in a strident shield of color,
fisting the air with rage,
howling words my neighbor
doesn’t know, though
they speak the same language.

Scorched Earth Copyright © 2017 Elizabeth Rees.


One of those accidental finds! Started reading it, couldn’t ‘t stop; read it to the end and then I started thinking. Read it again -and whenever that happens it has to be shared on my blog.
Can’t wait to see what others think.

Elizabeth Rees is the author of Every Root a Branch(Codhill Press, 2014) and Now That We’re Here (Spire Press, 2008). A Maryland State Arts Council poet-in-residence since 1994, she teaches poetry in Washington, D.C.

17 thoughts on “Scorched Earth

  1. Ok, I’m going to ask … what am I supposed to be reading? I’ve read this a couple of time … and the comments … but I don’t think I’m reading the same thing as everyone else.

    I get the impression that everyone else is reading about immigration and the non-acceptance of those-who-aren’t-like-us. On the other hand, I’m reading about the silent, insidious invasion of a political party with progress on their agenda, but not for everyone. The zealot neighbour is the dupe who doesn’t recognize he’s about to get burned by the false promises.

    Did I get it right?


    • I don’t think there is a right or wrong. This is a very well layered piece, it leaves room for different interpretations.

      For me it wasn’t about immigration either.

      Perhaps the invaders were welcomed at first but then they left scars -right wing scars- that can’t be hidden.

      “They flew in from the right,
      the far right, with birches in their hands.
      I’d seen them unload their shovels and dirt.”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think this poetry is well written especially reading it now and putting a different context upon it seeing what you are all experiencing right now within your own Political space ship..
    Loved reading
    Sending hugs
    Sue xxx


  3. Pingback: Scorched Earth – The Militant Negro™

  4. This certainly has double meaning, and there is an air of distrust…for our neighbors, for those who think differently, and for anyone (alien, immigrant, newcomer) that could be labeled the “other.” Then I thought about the UFO scar, and whose yard our neighbors from outer space might choose to land in. What’s more, why would they be chosen? There are so many levels to explore in this one, but the distrust mirrors our climate in the U.S.A right now.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s a lot to take in, isn’t it? I had the same thoughts. The right-wing leaving a mark, aliens from out of space, leaving dirt.

      A lot is packed in just a few lines. That’s why I had to share it.

      Thank you for your comment. I appreciate your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

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