by Matt Mikalatos
Corbalk: The conflicting emotions created by First Contact (used especially in reference to a homeworld-centric species).
I learned corbalk in the basement pantry, seven years old. The smell of leather and gun oil, my father's skin, pungent with bitter sweat. Sammy crying, his fear contagious as any virus, Mom shushing him, rocking him in the dim deep darkness, framed by metal shelves and boxes of Cheerios.
The rifle stood like a sentry in the pantry corner, Dad's face lit by the blue eye of his phone while he looked for a safe place and surfed the news.
When the Bishkekk floated through our neighborhood, the gravity fields on their tanks flattened the flowers and set car alarms wailing.
I remember Sammy, still crying, Mom's hand pressed against his mouth. He gasped, hysterical, shaking, struggling in her grip.