The Flying Saucer Poetry Review, Winter 2023 (issue #2)

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41 | Poetry by Kristin Van Tassel, Honorable Mention in the Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Awards & Best of the Net Nominee

Our Human Pledge

As members of the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS),
National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC)
Mutual UFO Network (MUFON),
we promise to keep the unnamed,
the unidentified, to a minimum.

As instinctive taxonomists, we continue to stretch
our lexical webs across the matter we cannot see
and the particles we cannot find—

Dark Matter (DM), or the God Particle (GdP), for example.

As alumni of the now defunct Civilian Saucer Intelligence (CSI),
National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP),
Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO),
we ask you to respect the labels for phenomena
technically mislabeled but nevertheless
poetically sound:

The beetles illuminating humid summer nights
will continue to identify, per our dictum, as “fireflies” (FF)—
the phylum of cnidrian still flutter their fringed bowlish bodies
through ocean currents as “jellyfish” (JF).

The Big Bang (TBB)—at the time neither big nor banging, apparently—
retains its trademark embossed on the letterhead of this particular planet.

We embrace paradox, simultaneously committed both
to preservation (described above) as well as
regular intelligence updates. Accordingly:

We propose this weekend’s storm—formerly known as “heavy rain” (HR)—
be from here on be identified as an “atmospheric river” (AR),
the more transparent metaphor.

That the misnomer “Global Warming” (GW) be revised
to “Climate Change” (CC), or “PolyCrisis” (PC) before
we burn, drown, freeze—

we, the species reportedly most concerned by,
most likely to assemble in response to,

what we do or cannot identify by name.

Kristin Van Tassel

Kristin Van Tassel lives and teaches in rural Central Kansas. She writes essays and poetry about place, travel, and teaching. Her work has appeared in WanderlustWhale Watch ReviewCapsule StoriesThe Flying Saucer Poetry Review, and Ecotone.

Editor’s Note: I am a huge fan of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and so I could not help but notice a great similarity of names in evidence here.