All Smiles
A poem by Tanasha Martin
Basic behavior is only human from our perspective. Other humans may view that behavior very differently—careful what you assume.

Through the dark swirl of bridges
Each one a cyclone,
Initial exploration,
We boldly walk alone.
Up ahead, a new dimension,
Bright light at the end;
Try to predict all the outcomes
We never could comprehend.
Crossed hundreds of doorways,
Encountered inhabitants in other worlds.
We’ve come as prepared as we can to
Protect ourselves if chaos unfurls.
Just as a light jasmine wind blows
Calmly through our hair,
We cross the threshold of another Earth
A tune floats on the air.

The ground, soft from the rain is
Lush, greenery surround.
Animals here are, as yet, unseen,
We listen closely for their sound.
Music volume increases as
We observe through the trees,
Little time to document,
Humans, the obvious species.
Of villages in the jungle,
Typical lifestyle and acts,
We see no overt threats here, so
We begin to relax.
Embraces, nods exchanged
Among them set the stage;
Weapons set aside, finally satisfied,
We’re ready to engage.

We step into the courtyard
More assured than before.
Friendly, open display of hands,
Perhaps no uproar?
The leader steps ever closer,
Our language understood.
He scans my eyes, my body, my face
For the possible falsehood.
In an effort to reassure him,
I flash my pearly whites.
He peels his lips and snarls at us,
Spinal chill, decide: fight or flight?
Razor sharp incisors,
Growls deep within his chest.
Pounce-ready and gathering,
We’re the prey, the dinner guest.

Shapes appear, stalk ever closer,
Flight, our only choice.
Flanking groups, body language clear,
Howl, united voice.
Feet rooted, pulled free, we
Run back through the wood.
Survival an impossible dream—
What we should have understood.
Sweat pours down our backs as it
Never has before.
Footsteps thunder, there’s no escape;
Precious lives beyond the corridor.
We exchange resigned glances,
Lock the door; no hope of rescue.
We brace ourselves to be the sacrifice
So they can never cross through.

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Copyright 2016 Tanasha Martin

Tanasha MartinTanasha Martin has written poetry from a very young age and wrote her first short story, which won top pick for a creative writing competition, in 1990. She first participated in NaNoWriMo in November 2015, drafting her first Young Adult Science Fiction novel. Since then, she has been writing full-time. Poetry, flash fiction, short stories, children’s books, and Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels are among her works in progress. This region features a writing community called The Writing Journey; Tanasha is the author of short stories and flash fiction works in the 2016 anthologies 12 and 13 of The Writing Journey.

Tanasha is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.