John-Michael Bloomquist’s poem, “Seti,” appears in the Michigan Quarterly Review’s Spring 2020 issue.
The planets rise like white spots in the purple evening sticking out like a child’s tongue for a doctor to hold the moonlight to. In eternity, everything is healthy, but here even a good family must struggle to get along. Israel means to wrestle with God. and my father who studies and reads ancient Hebrew believes there must be aliens somewhere out there, searching the word too— folding space-time like the accordion of a barrel cactus in an ancient grammar to find the Mount Sinai of the heart, a planet God still speaks to. Sunday night after leading the church in prayer, he’d grab Taco Bell so we could gather around the television in time to catch Star Trek begin the quest to seek out new life . . . When Jesus said he wasn’t of this world, it didn’t occur to me to think of one where everyone walked on water. My father watched me grow up surfing every summer. He watched me comb the ocean with each ride, fall backwards before the shallow rocks raked the fins. Then paddle back out for more. He was always sitting there on the beach, wearing a yellow shirt so I could spot him with a Bible in his hands, visiting that other, hidden world, and looking up to check if I was there, waving back if he saw me waving.