- Anthology, Archives, Poetry, Reading, Writing

Eight Poems, by Tony Trigilio



Missing Time

Her turquoise ring vanished, pink mystery stains on her dress, silver-dollar circles scorched on the Bel Air’s trunk.

We can tell what happened but this doesn’t mean we know more than when we started.

If David Blaine can turn a cup of steaming coffee into a handful of coins, then it’s crackpot not to believe in virgin birth or holy spirit.

It’s terrifying to think through the body: if you touch the cup of coffee, it might touch you back.

The ring turned up two weeks later under leaves inexplicably piled on the kitchen counter.

Then she started to remember: The drive should’ve taken four hours.



Beeping sounds in isolated locations all over the world, driving away animals.

 Any psychic abilities I might have had were gone, never to return.
—Betty Hill

Someone heard a steady beep-beep-beep, regular intervals, weeks at a time.

They moved through you like tinnitus then disappeared when you stepped away.

An astronomer in Keene endured a torrent, sixteen hours straight, followed by eight hours of silence.

I relieved my boredom that year chewing gum, whispering in class, pinching students, and wearing a green garden snake around my wrist as a bracelet.

I learned to spot flares in the smallest places.

Mother knew I was reading a book about faeries. Look for them early in the day, she said, in the garden, while you can still see dew on the flowers.



If She Only Had Proof Something Happened

Stranger in gray suit—neighbor’s dog went berserk behind glass door. Left huge footprints without any heel marks. Police were called. Betty saw the ship glide over crossing signals, blue light above the tracks too far away to film.

She wanted to explain to someone her eyes wouldn’t focus. She dropped a quarter and was too dizzy to bend over.

Squad cars came. False alarmists. She remembered the kidnappers passing Barney’s false teeth back and forth: everything she believed held at arm’s length like bloody gristle from bone.

She knew they left soot in the trees, fire in the flower gardens.



Transcript: Barney Hill’s Hypnosis

He fell deeper and deeper, deeper asleep.
Drew circles in the air, called them eyes.
Fully relaxed, deeper and deeper asleep,
he traced a curve for the left cheek

and stuck another eye on it.
An afterthought, he gave it a scarf,
traced two curves into a cap and visor.
Barney’s head nodded into his chest.

He gave it a scarf and the doctor said,
“You are fully relaxed, no fear, no anxiety.”
Head nodding, his chest exposed,
thought he saw a plane going to Montreal—

fully relaxed, no fear, anxiety—
he heard a fly buzzing, about to land,
thought he saw a plane but it hovered.
A row of lights, tilting, leveled off.

He was a fly buzzing against a screen.
Their eyes: Barney froze in the grass
as a row of lights, tilting, leveled off.
Strange faces at the window looking down—

their eyes, Barney froze in the grass.
A pilot in shiny black coat, visor,
ordered the faces away from the window.
You will not be troubled by what you remember.

The pilot’s shiny black coat and visor
terrified Barney, so he hustled to the car
(Your memories won’t trouble you—I am here—)
and Betty pleading drive, drive, don’t look back.

Terrified, Barney hustled the car into gear.
A few miles later, a bright streak along the road,
Betty pleading to go back, back, turn back around,
Barney grabbing the tire wrench below his seat.

A bright streak lit up the midnight road,
three of them on the highway stopped the car.
Barney afraid the wrench would seem a weapon.
They won’t trouble you here. Your sleep is deeper.

Three of them on the highway stopped the car
then helped him out of the driver’s seat.
They won’t trouble you here. Your sleep is deeper.
Eyes closed; felt his feet drag

as they guided him up a smooth incline,
fully relaxed, deeper and deeper asleep—
he didn’t want to be operated on—
deeper and deeper, he fell deeper asleep.



Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

He was easy
to love, Betty

said, and was
loved. It’s

that simple
and even

people who
didn’t know

him can say this.

We didn’t

bathe Delsey
those first

few days after
our capture

and we

her die.
The rank stains

where they

my dress,
blue light

coming from
the walls

in the exam-
ination room:

they shoved

Barney, we

even tell

our closest


The two witnesses prophesied for 1,260 days wearing sackcloths.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Hill—We have read about your experience with the Flying Saucer and the beings who operated it. We are thoroughly convinced that you had contact with fallen angels who were once in heaven but who were cast out along with their leader, Satan.


Mary’s body is not hidden somewhere.
Even if you had proper cameras, you couldn’t see her.

What are Mary’s molecules doing—the atoms in her body, you know.
Her body has been glorified now.

Jesus’s and Mary’s bodies are in Heaven—his body was ascended, Mary’s assumed.
But now their bodies take up spaces.

Remember, Jesus had been able to go through doors and walls.
He was able to appear and disappear.

Heaven is beyond our experience right now, like it’s another dimension.
The only way to reach Heaven is you die, then God allows you to go.

A woman clothed with the sun, a woman with the moon under her feet.
A woman with a crown of twelve stars on her head.

The woman about to give birth.
But Mary’s already had that child.



Betty Hill, “Sightings Journal”: April 28, 1978

Late, a cold night (for April
anyway), parked near the railroad
crossing. She couldn’t see much
but tracks tapering off the horizon,
two map lines

swinging toward a bare point so far
away it vanished when she
blinked. Turned the motor off.
Lights of the Mothership, flickering—
size of a nickel if you

held your thumb to the sky—
appeared over traffic on Rt. 125.
And then she heard a happy
family picnic, children laughing,
other people talking

about the food. She couldn’t
swear to it, but it sounded
just like the picnic last summer
at her mother’s home.
And knew not to tell anyone.



From Outer Space with Love

One couple tuned in for two hours.
The voice, sexless, returned, one-third

the size of the moon, a typewriter
moving across the sky. Television sets

by accident picked it up and phoned
electromagnetic insults to the nervous

system. A radio talking in their image
to probe their bodies. New frequencies

broadcasting all over their muddled
little planet. A loud hum.

Several nights later, they made a list
of questions. Who sees you

in more planets than Earth?
Whose intentions take physical form?

You refuse to trespass upon your garden.
You are both of little value.

A voice box slow-moving in the mountains.

Two little ones traversing the night sky,
tilted upward in panic.


Watch Tony Trigilio reading “Eight Poems,” which were subsequently published in Proof Something Happened, winner of the 2020 Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize.


4 thoughts on “Eight Poems, by Tony Trigilio

Leave a Reply