Day Eighteen: "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?"

Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?

It’s like a whodunit: a diner
full of people, and one of them

guilty of otherworldliness.
We scan the room, interview

the parties involved, listen to stories
and explanations and theories,

hunches about who doesn’t belong.
But deduction here is insufficient

in the face of what seems to be
the ability to alter reality itself:

a phone call promising a safe exit
from this locked-room mystery

and they leave, for good, and here
the story takes its darkest turn,

and the innocents die and we are left
with the old businessman, walking

back through the now-silent
snowy scene and into the diner.

He sips his coffee and lights a cigarette,
third arm winging its way from under

his overcoat, casually, and we see how
powerless we ever were to stop it.


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