The best of our primitive hearts

Congratulations to Paul Tyler, author of A Short History of Forgetting (Gaspereau Press), winner of the 2011 Archibald Lampman Award


A Short History of Our Future With Aliens

~Paul Tyler

On the day the aliens come, I’ll still go into work;

it’ll be all the talk at the office. It’s getting closer.

What skills they’ll bring from their foreign star.

What devices of pleasure. As they squat, posing

their ganglia beneath a strange blue sky, rubbing

their droopy eyelids like sleepy toddlers, asking:

Don’t you know who we are? Of course, we’ll cry,

we have heard all about you, offering the best of

our primitive hearts. As they slink from the haze

where the spacecraft sulks pulsing like a kidney,

their procession, with a sobering hush, will pass

through the burst of flashbulbs, metallic clothing

humming in its weave. They’ll slide straight into

the mayor’s congenial quarters, and be refreshed

with seltzer. This is the way it will happen. I’ll be

at the office knowing everything has arrived at its

inevitable conclusion, and as silence descends like

a train depot at midnight, things will finally change.



from A Short History of Forgetting, Gaspereau Press, 2011. Reprinted by permission.


Paul Tyler has been published in Event, Grain, The Malahat Review and other Canadian and American journals. He was the recipient of the 2004 Byron’s Quill Award and received an honourable mention in the 2005 Bliss Carman Award. A Short History of Forgetting is his first collection.

Arc would like to thank the 2011 Lampman judges, Anne Compton, Ross Leckie and Ian LeTourneau.


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