Eventually those of us who were left learned 
to identify all the different alien ships—
there were the Shuttles, gently descending 
on a globe of fusion, like a silver-plumaged 
broody hen settling on an incandescent egg; 
the Borers, inverted torches wriggling straight 
into the earth (we assumed they were changing 
something they didn’t like, way down there). 
The Candelabras would park, anchor themselves, 
and extend branches, doing nothing we could see 
except emitting orange light—and heavy radiation, 
of course. The Scythes had enormous blades 
to clear and level vast, formerly mountainous 
areas to what are now desolate, arid flatlands. 

We avoid all of them as best we can, constantly 
(but cautiously) seeking additional information 
related to risk assessment and management. 
We have printed a reference handbook, listing 
the current makeup of their fleet (in this region, 
at least), available for barter at a nominal rate.

—F.J. Bergmann