At the edge of the forest, a man
erects a twenty-foot antenna,
unfolds table and chair, and plies
a boxy electronic device.
Surely, he’s contacting species
millions of light years from here—
creatures long gone extinct
that will receive his message
long after Earth is a cinder.
Living the science fiction life
suits thickset white-beaded fellows
bored with retirement in towns
too dull to compete with the blaze
of the post-atomic night sky.
What if I ask this man to explain
his battery-powered hobby?
Would I learn it’s something mundane,
like ham radio? Or broadcasting
mambos and sambas for bears?
No, I watch from a distance
and wonder what he’s telling
some green or gray-toned life-forms
about our winsome little habits.
Maybe he’s hoping warp drives
will enable them to conquer
this planet and impose a fresh
culture on our depleted race.
The April wind rattles the forest.
A red-tailed hawk soars overhead.
Soon new leaves will speak aloud,
muffling the sincerest attempts
to enact alternative worlds.