Lizzy Drew

Hypothetical Explanations for the Fermi Paradox

“The apparent contradiction between the lack of evidence and high probability estimates for the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations”

Rugged Cross by Edward Michael Supranowicz

1. “No other intelligent species have arisen”
but giving them sense is wrong / a new level of otherworldly / humans in alien skin-suits /
it’s a lack of companion / the flaw in the coding / the ego the vanity / it’s not about /
intelligence / not really / they need to be us / biting to sick something / biting to sense
something / their grinning mouth too crowded to be anything but human / the real marker
of intelligence: manipulation and / fresh want from every / stuffed tooth

2. “It is the nature of intelligent life to destroy itself”
ruptures in the field / tourniquets for the healthy in / med tent + there’s patterns to it too /
nucleus of / hurt except the radius is too wide to be countable / go further + candles with
creeping ends / a wick lit / just close enough to singe but not harm / the careful balance not
careful only energy / an excitement / see a painting and think self / think birds / the same
species of dying / not yet you think + not dying / but wait still for the end of it

3. “It is the nature of intelligent life to destroy others”
nothing challenged quite like basking / an absorption / and what’s that to mean that a
sprawled salamander / is the quickest instinct our foot knows / the ants that fell from
summer seeing themselves in large things / like us / small things that think they’re large but
/ need an extra iota of proof / imagine the days falling in on themselves / collapsing / and
our bodies begin to seem a lot / lighter dizzy almost / and what’s spawned from that /
viscid need

4. “We are not listening properly”
when a thing doesn’t thud right / a heart a lung / it is because something is wrong / needs
correction so we put a / stint in the sonar + bulb in the bastion / but if the end is about
quiet it feels like noise / most things do / not because they’re difficult / but understanding
the lack / of movement means knowing how to be still + how to build / around the extra
space /we’ve never done that before / we still forget to check calculations & put a rocket in
a / lonely place it’s never been / communication error on our part

Note: All quoted lines in the poem are from the Wikipedia explanation of the Fermi Paradox.


About the writer:
Lizzy Drew is a senior at the Orange County School of the Arts. Her work has previously been featured in Aerie International and in her school’s award-winning literary magazine Inkblot. Drew is interested in the dynamics of science and poetry within the body and in lending nuance to mental illness through language and form.

Image: Rugged Cross by Edward Michael Supranowicz. Digital image. No technical information specified. No completion date specified. By permission. Edward Michael Supranowiczhas had artwork and poems published in various journals in the US and other countries. Both sides of his family worked in the coal mines and steel mills of Appalachia.