In a flash, but not a bang, with a bright
red and yellow light, a small alien
appeared in a living room in Gloucester,
(Number Eight Bourneville Road) at ten thirty
in the morning, while the family were out.
The room had one settee, two nice armchairs,
a forty two inch TV, a coffee
table, a small stereo that sounded
louder than it looked, a real fireplace,
three pictures on magnolia painted
walls, and a thick, cosy, off-white carpet.
The alien stood only four feet tall
in oily boots and a shabby squadron
uniform. He was off course. Tired, he trudged
to the window to see outside. He saw
a small, neat lawn with flowery borders,
an empty tarmac driveway, a quiet
street of light-bricked houses with similar
lawns and a few parked cars. He recognised
some of these things from previous missions,
some from his studies, but not quite like this.
This was much more… quiet. Even boring.
He turned back to the room and looked around.
He recognised it as a middle income,
fairly standard human dwelling. He knew
his way around such places, in theory;
what he needed now was a power point
so that he could make contact with his ship.
Scanning the lower sections of the walls
he walked slowly around the room until
he found two small white sockets underneath
the TV. He crouched down and pulled a plug
from one of them. He fished through his pockets
and retrieved a small black device: adding
an adaptor selected from his belt,
he pushed it into the earthling socket.
It lit up, and he stood. With time to kill
he wandered into the dining room, where
he found nothing of interest, and came back,
looking again around the boring front
room. Earth culture in peacetime, the western
sector. He pulled a book from his jacket,
perched on the edge of the sofa, reading,
until the little device flashed and beeped.
Jumping up, jabbing numbers into it,
he pocketed it and stood straight and tall
in the middle of the room. A white light
appeared around him and he disappeared,
as suddenly as he came, in a flash.
A version of this poem was first published
in Runcible Spoon in September 2018