E.T. phone home

Patricia Beer

E.T. looked like my cousin,
Who looked like many things wise
And wonderful: certain dreams,
Ancient jars in museums,
Fetishes with level eyes
And their native soil still on.

I was a child. I loved him.
We could most peacefully play
Together. Our family
Feared the neighbours might think we
Were all balmy. He could say
Three or four words. One was ‘Home’.

At thirteen he was taken
Away to an asylum.
For three days he wailed one word:
‘Home, home, home ...’ Nobody heard.
Then, sedated, he fell dumb
Leaving the air shaken.

Soon we were told he had died.
No property, clothes or last
Words came back. But a nurse said
That he always laughed out loud
When another inmate cursed.
Those who sent him there cried.

I heard this film was coming,
Fifty years later, on TV
And watched it. Now I often see
Rainbowing up a dark sky
And heavier by one boy,
My kin, a space ship homing.