'Oumuamua


An image of a comet streaking across a starry sky.

It appears even the aliens are getting through,

according to the news. Remember how we used

to drink our coffee and read the news? Don’t

think I’m trying to make you feel guilty, dear,

about not calling, only doing what I can

as your old friend to keep you informed.


And just so you know, this alien is only

a rock, a piece of unnamed star blown out,

tumbling through space, not the little green man

we always imagine, only a rock,

but alien by its birth beyond our galaxy.

It came skirting by Vega,


then dropped into our own solar system

like some tourist with wads of cash and

a fanny pack, peeled off layers of its face

when it got a righteous sunburn in perihelion,

then slingshot itself out again, with not even

the decency to leave a good tip.


The scientists named it ‘Oumuamua—

scout sent from the distant past to reach out

to us, like Michelangelo’s God reaching out

to touch the tip of Adam’s finger,

always stretching but somehow, like us

I’m afraid, never quite far enough to touch.



Julie Sumner is a writer who has worked as a critical care nurse, transplant coordinator, and massage therapist. She recently completed her MFA at Seattle Pacific University. Her work has appeared in Fathom, The Cresset, Juxtaprose, San Pedro River Review, Catalpa Magazine, and The Behemoth.